The Civic Centre in Pontypool
The Civic Centre in Pontypool Credit: Cwmbran Life

A NEW woman is in charge of rubbish and recycling in Torfaen as the council faces a crunch decision on fortnightly collections. 

A year ago the borough council put plans to move to only collecting wheely bins once every three weeks on pause so it could ramp up efforts to increase recycling rates to bring them into line with Welsh Government targets, and avoid potentially heavy fines for missing them. 

No decision has yet been announced on the frequency of waste collections but when a consultation on three weekly collections was scrapped in April last year to push the “raise the rate” recycling campaign instead leader Anthony Hunt said a “culture change” was needed to avoid “systemic change” in 2024. 

Last year Torfaen was only recycling 62 per cent of its waste, which was two per cent below the Welsh Government target which will raise to 70 per cent in 2025. 

Now Cwmbran Pontnewydd councillor Sue Morgan, who had been in charge of the council’s finances, will have sole responsibility for waste and sustainability. 

Her old brief of resources will now form part of Cwmbran member Peter Jones’ corporate governance portfolio. Cwmbran Greenmeadow councillor Mandy Owen remains with the environment brief but stripped of her responsibilities for waste. 

Those were the only significant changes to a slightly rejigged cabinet announced by Cllr Hunt at the council’s annual general meeting where the Labour group leader was again appointed as the council leader.  Labour holds 29 of the council’s 40 seats.

The Panteg councillor said: “I’d like to thank the cabinet for their hard work over the last 12 months and their forbearance and tolerance as I’ve changed the portfolios around slightly to focus on what I’ve identified as the priorities for the next 12 months.” 

Opposition councillors Elizabeth Haynes and Giles Davies voted against Cllr Hunt being appointed leader but only had the opportunity to do so after Cllr Haynes had to remind the presiding member, Labour’s councillor Rose Seabourne, to ask if any councillors wished to vote against, or abstain, on Cllr Hunt’s appointment. 

Richard Clark was reappointed deputy leader and his education brief also includes children and families, David Daniels remains responsible for adult services and housing, Fiona Cross keeps hold of communities and Joanne Gauden is still responsible for the economy, skills and regeneration. 

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