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Topic: Wheelie bins petition relaunched

Wheelie bins petition relaunched
12 Aug 2019 11:35 #4742

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Some interesting points.

At my last flat on Conway Road, I had the garden flat and upstairs did not. We paid the same council tax. Please explain how my neighbour upstairs wasn't subsidising my green waste collection? At my previous flat to that on Sidney Avenue, all 4 in the (converted house) were the same band but only the ground floor had gardens..... Your council tax is higher than a flat because the property is 50-100% bigger and is expected to house a much larger number of people, especially kids, with the associated increased strain of local public services.

This isn't a "stealth tax". It is an openly disclosed additional charged levied purely on those who benefit from the charged for service.

3% is a mere £60 on an average Band E (majority of houses) Enfield property. That's paltry and is totally absorbed by the green bin cost if that's what you consider it should be paying for.

I thought the consultation was pretty well publicised (Twitter, forums, leaflet drops) but some may have missed it I suppose. However I'm not sure about "the issues associated with changes". The predominant issue behind the changes is Council under-funding, which nobody has an excuse not to know about as it has been constantly in the press for years. Things will only get worse when Business Rates de-centralise too.

[This comment has been moderated to remove gratuitous personal remarks.

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Wheelie bins petition relaunched
13 Aug 2019 00:59 #4743

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To answer some of the points that Helen made in her contribution to the debate :

Helen Blairman wrote: The original petition started by me was designed to ask the council for clarification on its changes. That cannot be deemed unreasonable.

Helen's petition read as follows:

Please reverse your decision to change weekly bin collections to bi-weekly collection and cancel future charges in garden waste

Why is this important?

This is important because this service is one of the few services left to Enfield residents. The so-called “consultation” conducted by the council revealed a majority of residents preferred to keep the bin collections as a weekly service rather than change it to bi-weekly with additional charges for garden waste.

There's no request for clarification, just a demand to leave things as they are. Which, as I said, was simply not possible because of the need to make big savings.

Helen Blairman wrote: The council which you speak so highly of has consistently refused all requests for any kind of meeting or discussion on the matter.

I did not "speak highly" of the council. I began by criticising them and called their behaviour "outrageous":

Basil Clarke wrote: That doesn't mean that I think that the consultation was satisfactory - it wasn't, it was flawed because it included options that the council knew all along it simply couldn't afford. And the council also knew that the government has ruled that councils will have to introduce weekly separate collections of food waste, so that should have been included in all the options, but wasn't.

I also think that it was outrageous that the council refused to accept and discuss the original petition, supported by 6,500 people, on a technicality. Even though I didn't agree with that petition myself, the council should have respected the fact that it had so much support and it should be have discussed in cabinet and full council and an adequate response sent.

If there was a petition about the council ignoring the first petition, I would sign that.

Helen describes the shockingly bad attitude of the council towards the petitioners and I have to agree that it is unacceptable when so many people signed the petition. The "complete anonymity" of the cabinet member for the environment is, from what I hear, par for the course, and this is simply not good enough. He didn't even turn up for the environmental crisis debate.

To the extent that I was defending the council and councillors, it was because I'm fed up with reading constant carping about them on all possible subjects. People expect them to be able to perform miracles like stopping flytipping, putting cameras everywhere, scrutinising planning applications thoroughly, stopping shops closing and so on when they simply haven't got the resources, through no fault of their own. No doubt some individual councillors are a waste of time, but so many people direct their anger against all councillors, including the good ones.

Helen Blairman wrote: As it stands this autocratic regime will simply get its way without justifying its decision to the thousands of residents who have asked them to do just that!

The announcement of the decision and the report on the consultation did in fact contain the justification for the decision - which boils down to lack of money, for which the government is to blame, not the council. That said, the council should have had the decency to talk to the leaders of the petition and repeat the explanation - and apologise for being so stupid as to include the status quo among the options when it was never a real option.

As for "autocratic regime", certainly some very serious allegations have been made about the council leadership's style, which the national Labour Party doesn't seem in a hurry to get to the bottom of, but I suspect that Helen is saying that the council has to go along with what the majority of respondees asked for. But that isn't the case - consultations aren't referendums.

I sympathise with Helen's points about the downsides of fortnightly collections, but from the fuss that's being made anyone would think that Enfield was being particularly wicked, when fornightly collections are already the norm across the country - have another look at the BBC map and you'll see how rare weekly collections now are.

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Wheelie bins petition relaunched
13 Aug 2019 19:51 #4744

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To move away from pure finance to one of the other background drivers for change to the status quo: North London, the sub region of the London Region into which Enfield falls for waste purposes, had a recycling level of 29% in 2016. (Waste figures are often deep in time arrears.) However, the Joint Municipal Waste Strategy, long in place (2009) and signed off by boroughs including Enfield plus the Waste Authority, targeted to achieve 50% recycling by 2020. The draft North London Waste Plan (NLWP) , due to be evidenced in public later this year, targets 50% recycling by 2025, while the draft London Plan, now deep into its public examination, targets 65% recycling by 2030. NB Figures relate to household waste; the 65% figure has been included in the NLWP but as a composite to also include Commercial and Industrial waste recycling, ie no expectation on present plans to meet it as presented for household waste alone. These are a huge uplift from where we currently stand.
Much of the early, significant, increase in recycling rates occurred when garden waste was collected separately and counted as recyclate. That easy win has now pretty much been absorbed and we’re left with changing – significantly – our blue / black / green bin relationships to stand any chance of reaching these targets. Less black, more blue fits that direction, and we would seem to need nudges as well as harder changes to be successful. Some large world cities have achieved 70+%, while estimates suggest perhaps 80% of household rubbish could be recycled. We clearly all have a lot to do.
Note these targets refer only to the ratios within waste; the imperative to reduce waste levels absolutely remains, as does following the waste hierarchy, where reusing and repairing are preferable to recycling.

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Wheelie bins petition relaunched
15 Aug 2019 10:36 #4751

Michael Hobbs Michael Hobbs's Avatar

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I have always wondered whether the garden recycling (green bins) are a good thing or not. How green is the whole enterprise? The bins are made of plastic and the plant contents are collected by diesel-powered trucks. The imposition of a charge for this service has led me to go back to composting. That's probably an environmentally good result.

As for fortnightly collections of the black bins, this one is hard to judge and there may be unintended consequences such as more litter, that cost us more. The optimal result would be if we could consume less, but that's not going to be instant. We do need to think differently about all this. Petitioning in block capitals is not necessarily the only answer.

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Wheelie bins petition relaunched
15 Aug 2019 11:55 #4752

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I share Helen's views
Our 'larger' houses usually have gardens which add to the value of the property and ultimately are charged higher taxes . So as higher tax payers we have more than covered the cost of a regular waste collection.
The Council does not really care about savings - if it did it would not have overspent on the farcical cycle lane highway along two routes and possible a third complete with totally unnecessary furniture like the excessive use of orcas, metal posts near junctions, and the raised tarmac tables at every opportunity. Should I also mention the horrid and extremely dangerous planter boxes that were installed and now removed? If the Council managed its affairs properly and controlled its spending more wisely it would not be pleading under funding - despite what Central Governments (any party) do (which is another matter). It can also consider cutting the salaries paid to its executives - these do not have to be as high as they are - if they don't want the job as a proper salary level then I will be happy to step in!
When this Council run its consultation it suggested 9 one sided options ignoring the obvious one NONE OF THE ABOVE. Despite the 5500 responses it opted for the least favourable which is the scheme pushed forward.
The Council suggests this will encourage recycling - it should have offered more bins then not reduce the collection rate - this unfortunately is not always an attractive option as not many people have the space for another bin. Most of have have the smallest bins which normally fill up during the week so where does the Council expect us to store the waste during the second week? If the present scheme does go ahead without any concessions we will encourage more waste on our streets, illegal dumping and fly tipping, and possibly even more bonfires as we burn uncollected 'green' waste in our incinerator bins. The Council still proposes to drive round weekly to collect food waste - how much of a saving will this generate really? An extra £500,000 will be spent on street cleaners - well we know how efficient this is! One last point that I am struggling to grasp. If only a few pay the £65 annual charge for green wast collection how will the Council identify who has paid for the service and who has not - missing those who paid but collect those who did not? A badge on the bins? A logistical nightmare?

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Wheelie bins petition relaunched
15 Aug 2019 13:39 #4753

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S Leonidas

You may share Helen's views, but you also share the misconceptions. I have already set out how it is fallacious to suggest a garden is an exclusive explanatory factor in determining council tax levels. It simply is not. It, as an approach, also fails to acknowledge that large houses tend to contain large families with large strains on public services - little 1 and 2 bed flats do not.

Sad to see the same old trope about the cycle lanes. It was almost entirely funded by TfL.

How are orcas and wands excessive when they are there to stop drivers abusing the lanes and parking and driving in them dangerously?

The planters were a bit of a waste, I agree. Tricky for them to just bowl straight in with much more expensive modal filtering schemes though. Hopefully we'll see that in the future.

I also agree the consultation was a farce. But that doesn't mean the petition(s) have any value or credence.

I believe the council is providing larger recycling bins to family households. So, if you recycle diligently, that covers off that issue.

Bonfires over £1.25 per week....wow.

You have to apply to have your green waste collected. Notices have already started to be placed on green bins. Those that apply will have to pay the charge and then only their bins will be collected. Unless you are presuming bin men/women are illiterate, it shouldn't be too complicated a system.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Danilo Barani

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Wheelie bins petition relaunched
22 Aug 2019 09:02 #4761

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Just because you saw the consultation doesn’t mean that it was well publicised. Less residents were consulted than responded to the first petition. 73% of those consulted rejected the plans. The consultation was merely a hoop jumping exercise. The council had already decided which option it was taking. Their refusal to even discuss the issue merely citing a rather tedious party line about finances has compounded an issue that could have been properly discussed and resolved.

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Wheelie bins petition relaunched
22 Aug 2019 09:13 #4762

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I think we can all agree the consultation was a bit of a farce.

But that doesn't mean the same can be said of the plans just because people don't like change and won't accept reality - less money = less service.

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