Six thousand people have called for fortnightly waste plan to be dropped, reports James Cracknell
Enfield Council has rejected a petition signed by more than 6,000 people – because it says it cannot verify they are local residents.
The ‘Bin the new bin collections’ petition was launched in March by Palmers Green resident Helen Blairman in reaction to the council’s plan to switch to fortnightly collections for both general waste and recycling.
Council guidelines state that any petition which amasses support from 1% of the borough population – deemed currently to be 3,124 people – will be debated at a meeting of the full council. While it says petitions can be rejected if they do not include the addresses of signatories, Helen says she has submitted postcodes to the council for verification.
Helen said: “We have got twice as many signatures as we need for a debate but the council has moved the goalposts on the regulations for submitting petitions – saying they must now include addresses and emails. This is lunacy. I have postcodes for every signatory.
“Comments made online reveal anger and irritation at the cavalier and dismissive way that this matter has been managed by the council. People in Enfield are extremely unhappy about the lack of either consultation or willingness to discuss a compromise.
“We are all transparently aware of the council’s need to make savings, but genuinely feel that this blanket decision is out of touch with the feelings of the electorate.”
The council is already facing severe criticism over its changes to bin collections, with former deputy leader Daniel Anderson describing the public consultation held last December and January as a “sham” and a “fiasco” after the council chose to proceed with the least-popular option. The changes, due to be introduced from November, are expected to save £2million and will also include a new weekly food waste service and £65 charge for garden waste collection.
A council spokesperson said: “The lead petitioner has been informed that the petition was not accepted as it does not meet the requirements of Enfield Council’s published petition scheme, which was approved by full council in 2017.
“The petition scheme specifies that petitions presented to the local authority must include the addresses of everyone who has signed the document.
“In the case of the ‘Bin the new bin collections’ petition, this is not the case and addresses have not been provided.
“Officers from the scrutiny team are happy to meet the lead petitioner to discuss ways in which this can be taken forward.”