Council forced to debate bin changes

Black wheelie bin
Collections of general and dry recycling waste will take place once per fortnight in Enfield, starting next year

Second petition passes threshold for discussion by councillors, reports James Cracknell

Residents opposed to the introduction of fortnightly bin collections in Enfield have successfully forced the council to schedule a debate on the issue.

Earlier this year a petition against the waste service changes was signed by more than 6,000 people, but was rejected by Enfield Council on a technicality – as the authority claimed not all signatories were local residents.

Undeterred, a campaigner launched a second petition, this time via the council’s official e-petition system. Although it has not yet gained as many signatures as the original petition, it has passed the threshold required to force councillors to debate the issue. Under council rules, if a petition is signed by more than 1% of the population – deemed to be 3,124 people – it must be debated at a full council meeting.

The council is planning to make both general waste and dry recycling bin collections fortnightly, charge £65 a year for garden waste collections, as well as introduce a weekly food waste collection. The changes are projected to save £2m, while an extra £500,000 will also be spent on street cleaning.

Palmers Green resident Seraphim Leonidas launched the second petition against the bin changes. He said: “My hope and that of the many who supported this campaign is to get the council to revisit this dastardly scheme and reverse it.

“I can visualise more waste on our streets – more fly-tipping – and I may go as far to suggest there will be ‘bin wars’.”

The new food waste service is due to start in November, while the fortnightly collections will start some time next year. This autumn the council is running a public information campaign to communicate the changes to residents, which includes hosting a series of events around the borough where people can ask questions of its waste services team.

Guney Dogan, cabinet member for environment, said: “The scale of the central government funding cuts we continue to face mean we are having to make tough choices about how we deliver many of our services. Therefore, the overriding motivation for the change to waste services was to save money.

“However, we have viewed this as an opportunity to see what we can do to not only save money but re-design our services so they are fit for the future and drive up environmental standards and recycling levels across the borough.

“We have set a target of 49.55% recycling by 2020/21. Waste minimisation, education and behaviour change programmes will strengthen the success of the changes to our bin services, providing residents with the tools and information to make informed choices about what they throw away.”

A council spokesperson said the bin collections debate was likely to take place on Wednesday 18th September.

For more information about the waste collection changes and upcoming public information events:
Visit enfield.gov.uk/bins