Growing anger from residents over cost-cutting plans, reports James Cracknell
A petition against the introduction of fortnightly bin collections in Enfield has been signed by more than 5,000 people.
The move to cut weekly bin rounds had previously been branded “undemocratic” by opposition councillors after Enfield Council decided to opt for the least popular of a range of options for waste collections in a public consultation.
Two-thirds of people who responded to the consultation said they wanted to keep weekly collections, but instead the council is set to roll-out fortnightly waste and recycling collections next year, while also introducing a separate, weekly food waste service and a £65-a-year charge for collecting garden waste.
Now angry residents have signed in their thousands a “bin the new bin collections” petition on the website change.org. Helen Blairman, who started the petition, is a volunteer at Ruth Winston Community Centre. She said: “For me the council’s plans to change the bin collections to fortnightly and charge annually for garden waste was the final straw.
“Messing around with our bin collections is completely unacceptable. Apart from the obvious health and safety issues, the council conducted a statutory consultation of 5,000 residents and 66% of respondents wanted to keep the current weekly collections. Yet the council chose to ignore this consultation and have proceeded with their plans.
“Emptying the rubbish and recycling bins weekly and garden waste bi-weekly, is the very least service that the council should be delivering to taxpayers. This isn’t a luxury. This is an essential service. I urge the council to acknowledge the sentiments of such a large number and reconsider its budget plans.”
The changes to bin collections will save more than £2million per year and have been made as part of the latest round of budget cuts. At the time of the decision in February council leader Nesil Caliskan said: “The local authority has been open and transparent. We have been forced to make £18million of cuts this year.
“Because of all the cuts, it is really difficult to find these savings now. We could have gone for a different option, but with this option there is an extra £500,000 we can reinvest in street cleaning.”
Information on the council’s website states that petitions signed by more than 3,124 local people “can be presented to council for consideration” and can be put forward for debate by the overview and scrutiny committee. The council declined to provide further comment.
Sign the ‘Bin the new bin collections’ petition: