Three weeks ago the Barnet Tories won a spectacular election based on the premise that they'd keep the weekly bin collections. What they didn't say is that rules and conditions apply. As with many things to do with the Barnet Tories, *Conditions may apply.
In this case, there is a fairly major condition. They are proposing to cancel all collections of food waste and all the of garden waste for the winter period. The justification for doing this is that there is a lower volume of garden waste produced in the winter. For many keen gardeners, the winter period is one of intensive preparations and reconfigurations of gardens. Whilst plants are dormant, old flower beds, shrubs etc can be removed and replanted. Now residents will be faced with a situation where once your bin is full, you are stuck. One does not have to be a genius to figure out that when the service restarts, many bins will be full to bursting and that rounds will take far longer top complete. How long will it take to get the service back to normal.
The council has also announced that the dedicated Food Recycling scheme is being abolished. Sadly rather than creating energy through anaerobic digestion processes, it will now be sent to be burned, producing emissions. I m concerned that Barnet may be increasing its contribution to Greenhouse and CO2 emissions.
The council are also removing the small recycling bring sites, which are designed for residents of flats with no access to recycling sites. One of the reasons they cite is that causes fly tipping. To quote the report
"While the Bring Bank service provides a means for a limited number of residents to recycle who may not have direct access to a household collection (such as residents of flats that are not served using communal recycling bins) the service also generates significant costs to the Recycling and Waste, and Street Cleansing operations due to the need to regularly clear fly tipped materials that arise around the banks."
This is a calamitous example of things not being thought through. Let's take a step back. At present, fly tippers are concentrating activities in localised spots around the bins. Not ideal, but as they are all in one spot, manageable. Without the recycling locations, the flytippers will not disappear, they will simple do what other flytippers are doing on a regular basis and pick another spot, usually a secluded spot on one of Barnets picturesque country lanes.
I have submitted three questions for the committee. I know that our councillors find such public interest boring, but some of us do consider it important (Mr Frost is the council officer responsible for collating questions) - You can read the full report here.
Dear Mr Frost,
I have three public questions for above listed meeting.
1. With regards to removal of recycling drop off points. One of the justifications for the removal of this service is that the sites are used for flytipping, which is adding costs to the budget. It seems unlikely that flytippers will desist in their activities, just because the recycling points are removed. The most likely result is an increase in flytipping at secluded spots and areas of natural beauty. This will have a greater impact on residents and will most likely increase costs, as the chaotic nature of the distribution will make it more costly to remove and more impacting on residents. Has any risk assessment or study been conducted to assess the relative costs of clearing up such randomly distributed waste vs the cost of regular planned cleaning of the drop off points? What are the comparative figures.
2. With regards to the suspension of Green Bin activities for three months, has any study been performed as to whether when the services are resumed, how long it will take to clear a three month backlog of waste? Does the council expect all green bins to be fully emptied in the first week of resumption.
3. With regards to the abolition of the existing food recycling scheme, please can you supply the comparative estimated impact on CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gasses as a result of the planned change. Will the changes attract any additional greenhouse taxes gas taxes?
PS I do hope that the administration does not find these questions too boring and can make time in their busy schedules to provide full and comprehensive answers