Refuse Collection - Household Waste and Recycling

The request was partially successful.

Dear Lewisham Borough Council Environmental Health Department,

Please could you provide the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ;

1) Previously the black bins for household waste for 130 Gosterwood Street, SE8 5NY were collected on Friday's but this changed to Thursday's. Why and when did the change take place and who requested this change?

2) 130 Gosterwood Street, SE8 5NY has two large and three small green bins for recycling, which have not been emptied since 2 October 2015 due to contamination. This is not the first time. Please confirm if this is recorded on a weekly basis and if it's reported back to the Housing Association who are responsible? How many times since 2012 has this happened? Despite being made aware of the health and safety hazards, there's been no inspection and our landlord has refused to empty the contaminated recycling bins, blaming Lewisham Council for non removal. Why is it deemed acceptable and safe knowing that a child's room is directly above the pile of contaminated rubbish that's been rotting for over two months? Two of the small green bins belong to Southwark Council and Greenwich Council. Were these bins provided by Lewisham due to not having enough recycling bins?

3) There are four large black bins and eight or nine small black bins for household waste, which are normally full and overflowing before refuse collection. Since 2 March 2012, a number tenants knowingly cause a nuisance by dumping their rubbish bags, nappies as well as electricals and bulk items in the binstore which Housing for Women ignore for as long as possible. Not only is this Anti-Social Behaviour but also Health and Safety Hazards.
Is it Lewisham Council's procedure to ignore these dangerous and unhealthy hazards despite being made aware and knowing that a property is directly above the communal bins who are affected on a daily basis?

4) The communal bins for 130 Gosterwood Street, SE8 5NY, has long standing problems and complaints from 2 March 2012 with Anti-Social Behaviour, infestation, contamination, security breaches and intruders. Please could you confirm if any reports and complaints have been received relating to the communal bins? Please provide a breakdown.

5) How many bins in total have you supplied to 130 Gosterwood Street and what is the number of bins deemed acceptable for thirty eight flats? How do you calculate and decide on how many bins we should have according to each household? How many people including dependant children currently live in the properties of 130 Gosterwood Street? How do you justify the number bins being enough for all thirty eight flats and their tenants despite knowing of the increase in waste?

6) Lewisham Council state they do not deal with Housing Association tenants living in Lewisham Borough despite tenants being Lewisham residents. Please could you provide a full explanation why? Please confirm whether Lewisham Council have a duty of care towards Housing Association tenants living in the borough? Why are Housing Association tenants ignored compared to residents living in private rented accommodation and Lewisham Homes?

7) Who is in charge of emails recieved to your Environmental Health Department and what is the procedure in responding to concerns relating to health and safety affecting Housing Association tenants living in the borough? For example emails not being acknowledged instead being ignored? Is this normal practice? Those emails which are ignored, what happens to them and are concerns logged and recorded?

8) Who is in charge of the Twitter account for Lewisham Environment @EnviroLewisham and who is responsible for tweeting and responding to the tweets made by the public? Who decides which tweets should be replied to and which ones should be ignored? What are the reasons for ignoring certain indivuals trying to raise awareness of problems affecting the health and safety of their home and communal areas?

9) Please could you kindly provide a copy of Lewisham Council's Household Waste and Recycling Policy.

Thank you.
Yours faithfully,

H Presley

Foi, Lewisham Borough Council

Dear H.Presley

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000
Environmental Information Regulations 2004
Reference No: 344922

Thank you for your recent request. Your request is being considered and you will receive a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days, subject to the application of any exemptions/exceptions. Where consideration is being given to exemptions/exceptions, the 20 working day timescale may be extended to a period considered reasonable depending on the nature and circumstances of your request. In such cases you will be notified and, where possible, a revised time-scale will be indicated. In all cases we shall attempt to deal with your request at the earliest opportunity.

There may be a fee payable for the retrieval, collation and provision of the information requested where the request exceeds the statutory limit or where disbursements exceed £10. In such cases you will be informed in writing and your request will be suspended until we receive payment from you or your request is modified and/or reduced.

Your request may require either full or partial transfer to another public authority. You will be informed if your request is transferred. If we are unable to provide you with the information requested we will notify you of this together with the reason(s) why and details of how you may appeal (if appropriate). Please note that the directorate team may contact you for further information where we believe that the request is not significantly clear for us to respond fully.

Kind Regards

Maria Kaminski
Corporate Information Team

show quoted sections

Phillip Mears, Lewisham Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Presley

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000

Reference No: 344922

Thank you for your request, which I have copied below, together with our
response.

Previously the black bins for household waste for 130 Gosterwood Street,
SE8 5NY were collected on Friday's but this changed to Thursday's. Why and
when did the change take place and who requested this change?

The scheduled collection remains Friday’s, however on a temporary basis
the collection day has moved to Thursday’s while building and road works
are being carried out.

2) 130 Gosterwood Street, SE8 5NY has two large and three small green bins
for recycling, which have not been emptied since 2 October 2015 due to
contamination. This is not the first time. Please confirm if this is
recorded on a weekly basis and if it's reported back to the Housing
Association who are responsible? How any times since 2012 has this
happened? Despite being made aware of the health and safety hazards,
there's been no inspection and our landlord has refused to empty the
contaminated recycling bins, blaming Lewisham Council for non removal. Why
is it deemed acceptable and safe knowing that a child's room is directly
above the pile of contaminated rubbish that's been rotting for over two
months? Two of the small green bins belong to Southwark Council and
Greenwich Council. Were these bins provided by Lewisham due to not having
enough recycling bins?

Recycling crews operate a paper based system for recording instances of
contamination.  Where the bin is contaminated with heavy duty material,
for example, building rubble, a report would be made back to the landlord
concerned, with the expectation that they arrange for the material to be
removed.  If the contamination was caused by general household waste, the
Council’s refuse service would normally empty the bin the week following
the report.

The  paper based reports are not held in an easily accessible format,  and
it would involve going through several thousand items in order to 
identify whether any records going back to 2012 are held for your
address.   It is estimated that the cost of locating, retrieving and
collating the information would us take well in excess of 18 hours and
would cost in excess of £450 (the set limit) and therefore exceeds the
'appropriate level' as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and
Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004
(http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2004/uksi_20....

We have therefore applied Section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act  to
this aspect of your request for the reasons stated above. This acts as a
refusal notice.

You are able to make a payment so that this task could be undertaken. You
may also modify your request to reduce the time it would take, and
therefore the cost of this task. Please contact us if you wish to proceed
with one of these options.

In addition the  Council also  maintains an electronic database
containing  reports residents make via email and phone  concerning  refuse
and recycling problems. There are no reports for any missed or
contaminated bins in respect of your block.  We have no records on any
discussion with  your landlord concerning this.  We do not supply
Southwark or Greenwich bins and would not empty them. 

 3) There are four large black bins and eight or nine small black bins for
household waste, which are normally full and overflowing before refuse
collection. Since 2 March 2012, a number tenants knowingly cause a
nuisance by dumping their rubbish bags, nappies as well as electricals and
bulk items in the binstore which Housing for Women ignore for as long as
possible. Not only is this Anti-Social Behaviour but also Health and
Safety Hazards. Is it Lewisham Council's procedure to ignore these
dangerous and unhealthy hazards despite being made aware and knowing that
a property is directly above the communal bins who are affected on a daily
basis?

It is not the Council’s policy to ignore reports of  dangerous and
unhealthy hazards and the appropriate action will be taken based on the
nature of the report. 

4) The communal bins for 130 Gosterwood Street, SE8 5NY, has long standing
problems and complaints from 2 March 2012 with Anti-Social Behaviour,
infestation, contamination, security breaches and intruders. Please could
you confirm if any reports and complaints have been received relating to
the communal bins? Please provide a breakdown.

 Our records in the Environment Division show there have been no
complaints regarding the communal bins. 

5) How many bins in total have you supplied to 130 Gosterwood Street and
what is the number of bins deemed acceptable for thirty eight flats? How
do you calculate and decide on how many bins we should have according to
each household? How many people including dependant children currently
live in the properties of 130 Gosterwood Street? How do you justify the
number bins being enough for all thirty eight flats and their tenants
despite knowing of the increase in waste?

The Council produces guidance for landlords/ owners concerning the amount
of refuse and recycling capacity that should be catered for , which
primarily is based on the number of residents who  occupy a particular
development. It is down to the landlord/owner to order the amount and size
of bins that they consider necessary.  For your information, I have
included a copy of the guidance with this response.  

6) Lewisham Council state they do not deal with Housing Association
tenants living in Lewisham Borough despite tenants being Lewisham
residents. Please could you provide a full explanation why? Please confirm
whether Lewisham Council have a duty of care towards Housing Association
tenants living in the borough? Why are Housing Association tenants ignored
compared to residents living in private rented accommodation and Lewisham
Homes?

If we receive a complaint from any resident we will respond accordingly. 
Where a resident is a tenant of a social landlord, we would normally
expect them to raise the issue with their landlord in the first
instance.   

7) Who is in charge of emails received to your Environmental Health
Department and what is the procedure in responding to concerns relating to
health and safety affecting Housing Association tenants living in the
borough?

The Senior Group Manager  responsible for the relevant service is
Madeleine Jeffery.  The current policy is firstly to ask  the tenant to
contact their landlord with their concerns. If the resident reports that
their landlord has failed to  act,   the service will consider an
appropriate  course of action which will often result in a site 
inspection.

8) Who is in charge of the Twitter account for Lewisham Environment  
@EnviroLewisham and who is responsible for tweeting and responding   to
the tweets made by the public? Who decides which tweets should be replied
to and which ones should be ignored? What are the  reasons for ignoring
certain indivuals trying to raise awareness of  problems affecting the
health and safety of their home and communal areas?

The @EnviroLewisham  account is managed by Paddy Swift, the Waste
Initiatives and Contracts Manager.  Tweets will normally  be  responded
to, either by responding via twitter or contacting the individual
privately when discussion would no be  appropriate via twitter. 

9) Please could you kindly provide a copy of Lewisham Council's  
Household Waste and Recycling Policy.

 The relevant information can be downloaded from: 
http://www.Lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wa...

We hope you will find this information helpful.

You are free to use the information provided for your own purposes,
including any non-commercial research you are doing and for the purposes
of news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication,
requires the permission of the copyright holder. You may apply for
permission to re-use this information by submitting a request to
[email address]

You have a right of appeal against this response. If you wish to appeal
you must do so in writing to the Corporate Information Manager at the
following address:

Corporate Information Team

London Borough of Lewisham

1st Floor, Town Hall Chambers

Rushey Green

Catford

London, SE6 4RY

or

[email address]

 

Yours sincerely

 

Phillip Mears

Senior Caseworker

Customer Services

[email address]

020 8314 9407

 

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Dear Phillip Mears,
Many thanks for your response to my request and for the information you have provided.

I have clicked on the Guidance of waste and recycling capacity link, however I am unable to view the document. Please could you provide the document again.

Having gone through the information you have provided, I have found some of the information inaccurate.

1) The road works on Gosterwood Street began in December 2015 and still continuing. However refuse collection for household waste during this time changes weekly from Thursday to Friday. Housing for Women Housing Association are aware of this, however the communal bins remain very dirty, unclean and a health and safety risk. The cleaning is the responsibility of our landlord despite them blaming the council for the change in the day.

2)The recycling bins have been contaminated every week since 2 March 2012 and often not emptied for weeks. As previously stated, from 2 October 2015 till Christmas 2015, the recycling bins were overflowing, filthy and causing further nuisance to our home from the smells. Lewisham Council still ended up emptying the bins. Please provide details on why it took more than two and a half months as the council procedure states that contaminated bins will not be emptied until the contamination is removed.

Our address should hold a long record of reports based on missed and contaminated bins. Please could you clarify if recycling crews operate your paper based system accurately each week. Is it possible that this is not done at times? I am unable to afford the cost of £450. The long hours needed to locate and retrieve the information I need is too long. I do not accept the refusal notice under section 12. Please
modify my request by reducing the time and cost to minimum as possible.

I have made several reports via email to Lewisham Council's Environmental Health Department since 2012 and via Twitter so your records regarding the electronic database are incorrect. The problems have been reported more than several times with enough photographic evidence. There has been many missed collections since 2 March 2012 yet you confirm there has been no discussions with Housing for Women. But the council procedure is to inform the landlord when the bins are contaminated. If no discussions took place, the council's recycling crew did not follow policy and procedures. Please could you clarify further. The communal bins have had two green bins owned by Southwark and Greenwich Council. While they along with the other recycling bins are not emptied when contaminated, they end up being emptied eventually with the remaining recycling bins owned by Lewisham Council.

3) Lewisham Council have ignored dangerous and unhealthy hazards on numerous occasions affecting our home and have been made aware of this since 2012. However, no action has been taken against the landlords failure to keep the communal bins safe and free from hazards.

4) Your records are incorrect as I have informed EHRES every year since moving into the property via email and Twitter.

5) There are 38 flats in our development which consist of 12 one bedroom flats, 22 two bedroom flats, two three bedroom flats, one, one bedroom and one three bedroom maisionette, as well as an office. Some homes are overcrowded due to giving birth. A lot of nappies are disposed with some not being disposed correctly, instead being dumped on ground. However, these dirty nappies on ground go ignored by our landlord despite being aware of this. I have requested information from our landlord regarding the number of residents as the amount of waste from our development is very high for the small space and bins provided. However, Housing for Women have ignored this request. Please could you provide details on what guidance was given to our landlord regarding this. The copy of the guidance you have provided, is not viewable.

6) I have reported and complained to Lewisham Council in 2012, 2013 and 2014 via email. I have also used social media Twitter to make Lewisham Council aware.

7) The current policy has not been followed as I have followed our landlords complaint procedure and awaiting investigation to commence by the Housing Ombudsman as our landlord has failed to act repeatedly. It is coming up to four years since living here in which our home and life has been affected every day by the daily antisocial-behaviour with rubbish dumping, smells, flies and twice infested with mice. Lewisham Council have failed to take appropriate action.

I wish to appeal against this response as partial information you provided is incorrect and inaccurate.

Thank you.
Yours sincerely,

H Presley

Mears, Phillip, Lewisham Borough Council

Dear Ms Presley

Thank you for your email, which I have passed to the Information Governance Manager for action.

Regards

Phillip Mears

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Foi, Lewisham Borough Council

Dear Ms Presley

Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000
Reference No: 344922- Appeal

We acknowledge receipt of your appeal to our response to your information request, reference number 344922. We will now undertake a review of our original response to you. We will endeavour to respond to you within 20 working days.

Yours sincerely

Maria Kaminski
Corporate Information Team

show quoted sections

Dear Foi,

I am still waiting for my response.

You informed me on February 8th 2016 that you would respond within 20 days. But it is now May 25th 2016, more than three months with no communication.

What are the reasons for the delay and non communication?

Yours sincerely,

H P

Dear Foi,

I'm still waiting.

Yours sincerely,

H Presley

Foi, Lewisham Borough Council

Dear Ms Presley

Thank you for your email. I sincerely apologise for not responding to your earlier request for an internal review of your response. It was somehow overlooked and we accept full responsibility for this.

I have written to the service who provided the information for you Freedom of Information request and ask that they address your questions raised in your appeal.

As soon as we receive a response, I will write to you again with a full update

Regards

Wendy Stevens
Corporate Information Team

show quoted sections

Dear Foi,

Once again I am chasing your department for the internal review which I originally requested on 3 February 2016.

According to the 'Good Practice Guide' internal reviews should never take longer than 40 days. We are now in November and it's coming to 12 months since I made the FOI request! This is totally unacceptable.

Yours sincerely,

H P

Dear Foi and Steve Bullock

I assume it's time to pass this on to the Information Commissioners Office for investigation as you have failed to respond and investigate the internal review. Please pass this on to Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock.

Yours sincerely,

H P

Foi, Lewisham Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Presley
 
Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000
Reference No: 344922 – Appeal response
 
We sincerely apologise for the delay in responding to your appeal.
 
We have now considered your appeal of our original full response to you.
Your request was for information regarding household waste and recycling.
In summary we wish to provide some further explanations and uphold our
decision to apply S12 Freedom of Information Act 2000, 'Exemption where
cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit' to your request.
 
We have reproduced your comments/questions below (in blue) along with our
responses (in red). Please note,  Freedom of Information/Environmental
information Regulation requests are requests for recorded information only
therefore we are unable to provide comments or views to any statements you
may have made. We do have a duty to advise and assist however and have
endeavoured to address your concerns where possible.
 
I have clicked on the Guidance of waste and recycling capacity link,
however I am unable to view the document. Please could you provide the
document again.
 
Please find attached the link to our website. Please let me know if you
have any further difficulties accessing the site.
 
[1]http://www.Lewisham.gov.uk/myservices/wa...
 
 
     1) The road works on Gosterwood Street began in December 2015 and
     still continuing. However refuse collection for household waste
     during this time changes weekly from Thursday to Friday. Housing
     for Women Housing Association are aware of this, however the
     communal bins remain very dirty, unclean and a health and safety
     risk. The cleaning is the responsibility of our landlord despite
     them blaming the council for the change in the day.
 
     2)The recycling bins have been contaminated every week since 2
     March 2012 and often not emptied for weeks. As previously stated,
     from 2 October 2015 till Christmas 2015, the recycling bins were
     overflowing, filthy and causing further nuisance to our home from
     the smells. Lewisham Council still ended up emptying the bins.
     Please provide details on why it took more than two and a half
     months as the council procedure states that contaminated bins will
     not be emptied until the contamination is removed.
 
The Waste Team should not empty contaminated bins as this would be the
responsibility of the
landlord, however if the bins were causing a particular problem, as in
this case, we would empty them
on a good will basis, whilst following up a long term solution with the
Landlord/Managing Agent.
 
Our address should hold a long record of reports based on missed
     and contaminated bins. Please could you clarify if recycling crews
     operate your paper based system accurately each week. Is it
     possible that this is not done at times? I am unable to afford the
     cost of £450. The long hours needed to locate and retrieve the
     information I need is too long. I do not accept the refusal notice
     under section 12. Please
     modify my request by reducing the time and cost to minimum as
     possible.
 
We applied S12 of The Freedom of Information Act 2000, 'Exemption where
cost of compliance exceeds appropriate limit' to this part of your
request.
 
According to the Information Commissioner’s Office’s guidance and
regulations the following criteria can be used when applying S12 to a
request:
 
The Regulations allow a public authority to charge the following
activities at a flat rate of £25 per hour of staff time:
 
•           determining whether the information is held;
•           locating the information, or a document which may contain the
information;
•           retrieving the information, or a document which may contain
the information; and
•           extracting the information from a document containing it.
 
We have 8 recycling crews who work 5 days a week, so we estimate there
would be  approximatelty1920 round sheets per year. For the 4 year period,
this equates to 7680 sheets. During this period there have been changes in
the rounds so it wouldn’t necessarily be one crew’s round that would need
accessing. For a 1 year period it would take one officer 5 minutes per
round sheet to pick out the location (approximately 9.5 hours) , a further
2-3 hours to extract the recycling sheets before examining them
individually for the requested information.  To locate, retrieve and
extract the information you requested would therefore exceed the
appropriate limit even if the request was modified.
 
     I have made several reports via email to Lewisham Council's
     Environmental Health Department since 2012 and via Twitter so your
     records regarding the electronic database are incorrect. The
     problems have been reported more than several times with enough
     photographic evidence. There has been many missed collections since
     2 March 2012 yet you confirm there has been no discussions with
     Housing for Women. But the council procedure is to inform the
     landlord when the bins are contaminated. If no discussions took
     place, the council's recycling crew did not follow policy and
     procedures. Please could you clarify further. The communal bins
     have had two green bins owned by Southwark and Greenwich Council.
     While they along with the other recycling bins are not emptied when
     contaminated, they end up being emptied eventually with the
     remaining recycling bins owned by Lewisham Council.
This is not a request for recorded information and as such cannot be
addressed via the Freedom of Information Act.
 
     3) Lewisham Council have ignored dangerous and unhealthy hazards on
     numerous occasions affecting our home and have been made aware of
     this since 2012. However, no action has been taken against the
     landlords failure to keep the communal bins safe and free from
     hazards.
This is not a request for recorded information
 
     4) Your records are incorrect as I have informed EHRES every year
     since moving into the property via email and Twitter.
 
Our CRM system has been checked and can find no reports regarding bin
collections at the address you have given  recorded on there. Please note,
only calls received into our call centre would be registered. if you can
supply us with the email address you sent your complaints to, I can look
into this further for you.
 
     5) There are 38 flats in our development which consist of 12 one
     bedroom flats, 22 two bedroom flats, two three bedroom flats, one,
     one bedroom and one three bedroom maisonette, as well as an
     office. Some homes are overcrowded due to giving birth. A lot of
     nappies are disposed with some not being disposed correctly,
     instead being dumped on ground. However, these dirty nappies on
     ground go ignored by our landlord despite being aware of this. I
     have requested information from our landlord regarding the number
     of residents as the amount of waste from our development is very
     high for the small space and bins provided. However, Housing for
     Women have ignored this request. Please could you provide details
     on what guidance was given to our landlord regarding this. The copy
     of the guidance you have provided, is not viewable.
 
The Council produces guidance for landlords/ owners concerning the amount
of refuse and recycling capacity that should be catered for , which
primarily is based on the number of residents who  occupy a particular
development. It is down to the landlord/owner to order the amount and size
of bins that they consider necessary. We apologise that you were unable to
access the document previously. I have reattached the document (it is at
the foot of this email). Please let us know if you are still unable to
view it.
 
     6) I have reported and complained to Lewisham Council in 2012, 2013
     and 2014 via email. I have also used social media Twitter to make
     Lewisham Council aware.
 
     7) The current policy has not been followed as I have followed our
     landlords complaint procedure and awaiting investigation to
     commence by the Housing Ombudsman as our landlord has failed to act
     repeatedly. It is coming up to four years since living here in
     which our home and life has been affected every day by the daily
     antisocial-behaviour with rubbish dumping, smells, flies and twice
     infested with mice. Lewisham Council have failed to take
     appropriate action.
 
6 and 7-This is not a request for recorded information and as such cannot
be addressed via the Freedom of Information Act.
 
Please note, we will log and acknowledge your further FOI request under
separate cover.
 
 
We hope you find this response to your review satisfactory. However, you
have a further right of appeal against this decision, which you can do so
in writing, stating your reasons to the regulating body, the Information
Commissioner's Office.
Contact details: [2]http://www.ico.gov.uk/ or 0303 123 1113 or Wycliffe
House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
 
Yours sincerely
Wendy Stevens
Corporate Information Team
 
 
 

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