Share this article

More than two thousand Enfield residents have signed a new petition calling on Enfield Council to abandon its plans to reduce the frequency with which 'wheelie bins' are emptied from once a week to once a fortnight. This follows the council's refusal to accept an earlier version of the petition, supported by more than 6000 people, because signatories' addresses were not included.

The original petition was short and to the point:

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.

The new, much longer, petition reads as follows:


To the members of Enfield Council, 16th July 2019


Last year this Council ran a consultation period surreptitiously buried in the recess of the Christmas season. This proposal is for a change to the current collection arrangements of our domestic recycling and garden waste. The options suggested are unacceptable to many constituents, particularly the imposition of an additional charge to collect garden waste. This being on top of the 5% increase to our annual Council Tax Bill this year. It can only be described as another stealth tax. Not only are these options one-sided, but no compromises have been offered and submitted.

Many years ago the Council proposed and introduced wheelie bins on the back of suggestions that it would greatly enhance and improve the cleanliness of the Borough, and in many instances prevent the problem of rodent and fox running, thereby upholding the accolade of ‘beautiful and clean town’.

Your public duty is to provide a healthy and hygienic environment and these current proposals to reverse this main objective are, quite frankly, bizarre and would hardly endorse this policy.

Most households were previously issued with smaller sized bins and are already easily and rapidly over-filled over a one week collection, let alone the proposed two week collection.

The impact will be absolutely clear and obvious: our bins will overflow and our domestic waste will most likely spill onto the streets, be it in boxes or plastic bags and, worse still, even loose; allowing wildlife to rummage through the refuge, creating an even bigger, unsightly and unhygienic, mess. There will undoubtedly be an increase in vermin in general. This surely must be seen as a significant health and safety breach.

Do you intend, at the very least, or regardless of any outcome, to upgrade our small bins to larger units? PLEASE RESPOND FULLY.

We are told that you are still planning to make weekly collections of food waste. Where is the sense in that? Whilst sending your crews around our streets to pickup this 'group' of waste why is it not deemed logical and time and cost-effective to collect the general waste simultaneously, as is the current practice?

The Council already dismissed our most recent petition containing almost 6,500 names AGAINST the current proposals, based upon a mere technicality. These are genuine entries signed by your very own residents. Further opportunity MUST be taken into account to listen to your residents, otherwise this smacks of the Council just looking for any loophole to impose its one-sided policy.




Petition: Stop the bin collection changes

Anger as bin collections petition rejected (Enfield Dispatch 1 July 2019)

Less frequent wheelie bin collections proposed (Palmers Green Community 31 October 2018)

Fortnightly bin collections on the agenda (Palmers Green Community 11 February 2019)

Log in to comment

Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #4718 31 Jul 2019 23:19
I won't be signing this petition.

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 that 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.

So why won't I sign this one?

For one thing, it's completely unrealistic and pointless to call for a continuation of the present arrangements when the council, like most local authorities across the country, is desperately short of money. That isn't the fault of the council, it's the result of a deliberate policy by governments since 2010 to sharply reduce the money that they provide to local government. It's very convenient for 10 and 11 Downing Street that people blame the consequent reductions in local services on their local councils, when they are actually the fault of central government and councils have little or no choice. Councils are in a very difficult situation - they are legally obliged to balance their budget and in the past councillors have been sent to prison for not doing so.

Secondly, and this relates only to the new petition , not to the much shorter original , I dislike the antagonistic tone and the capital letters, which are the written equivalent of shouting. I don't like everything about the way the council is run, but I respect the fact that cabinet members and other councillors are having to make difficult choices that risk unpopularity. If we respond in such a rude way every time we're unhappy with their decisions, we'll drive away the best people. Councillors have feelings too.

The consultation wasn't "surreptitiously buried in the recess of the Christmas season". It lasted ten weeks, was well publicised and there was good supporting information.

As regards the option that the council have chosen, it's not very different from the arrangements now operated by other councils across England. Enfield is actually one of the last councils to still provide weekly collections of general waste - see this BBC report for the figures.

Keeping the small black bin will force the people that just chuck everyone into it without sorting out recyclables to mend their ways - we all have to play our part in solving the multiple environmental crises that have been caused by our slapdash attitudes. And the council have said that households where there is a genuine need for bigger black bins will get them - for instance, if there are babies still in nappies in the family.

I'm sorry to see the continued run-down of council services across the country - I'd like to see weekly collections, more street cleaning, roads and pavements without potholes, more police, big teams of gardeners in the parks, libraries run by professionals etc etc. But the fact is that in 2010 our unfair electoral system landed us with a government that believes that only wealthy people deserve decent services. They might not have said that in so many words, but actions speak louder. So don't blame Enfield Council.
PGC Webmaster's Avatar
PGC Webmaster posted a reply #4720 01 Aug 2019 01:15
Posted on Facebook by Enfield Council on Wednesday:

Our recycling team will be out and about over the summer with lots of information on the forthcoming service changes as well as answering questions about recycling and all things bin related.

The first two events are at:
John Jackson Library tomorrow between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm Agricola Place, Enfield EN1 1DW

or ASDA in Southgate on Friday 2nd August from 11.00 am - 3.00 pm

To register your interest in applying for the new Garden Waste Service visit…/garden-waste-expression-of-in…/

You can also sign up to receive regular updates via the Waste and Recycling e newsletter
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #4728 02 Aug 2019 10:23
Totally agree with you, Baz.

Whilst I thought the consultation was a complete joke, I'm so certain the answer was pre-determined that I was tempted to FOI the cost wasted running it, but the reality is people always vote to maintain the status quo because they hate change or the reality that the services they currently benefit from come at a cost. A cost that needs funding.

I'm probably one of the few that went for one of the paid green waste options... why should people living in flats have to subsidised those with the benefit of gardens (like me)?

The petitions are antagonistic and detached from an acceptance of reality. Unless everyone starts paying £10 a week more council tax, I can't imagine the status quo will ever be affordable again.
David Hughes's Avatar
David Hughes posted a reply #4730 04 Aug 2019 10:29
Just to confirm that I also support the line taken by our Webmaster; Council's just don't have the money. Many Council's made the change years ago for just that reason.

It will be difficult for our household because we only have room for the smaller sized bins, and there are three steep steps in the passage from rear garden to the road.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #4731 04 Aug 2019 14:52
Me too. Having seen the original options list and knowing of the financial constraints and waste industry requirements due in the short term I cut it down to only two feasible options and then took the view that of those two that the biggest money saver would be hard to beat. I could see little to argue against it and so in the event didn’t even think it worth responding. Turns out I was on the money.
Waste is an expensive, impactful, complex as well as emotive subject as the current bins scenario highlights. What actually happens when we – and organisations – dispose of stuff and the many implications thereof gets much less attention and has a reflective level of understanding. As it turns out the North London Waste Plan, which addresses exactly those points, will be formally submitted next week as the first stage of its public examination.
It constitutes goodness knows how many thousands of pages of text, diagrams, numbers and the like. All of which can be found here . Making the case against Enfield’s plans realistically means having a reasonable handle on what these disposal plans and implications are.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #4733 05 Aug 2019 18:01
One linked point to bear in mind re the £2m bins challenge is the £1m pa Enfield ratepayers are paying to reduce the debt taken on by the Waste Authority (NLWA) as our share of an earlier Pinkham Way debacle, and will be repaying for many years to come.
In documents made pubic this week, in their submission commenting on the latest waste plan (NLWP) which forms part of their submission to the independent inspector, we see that the NLWA again state that they have no plans for Pinkham Way but curiously go on to add that they consider it “essential” that the site, a Grade 1 Site of Importance for Nature Conservation, is included in the NLWP to provide waste functions in the “medium term”. (The NLWP is a 15 year document, taking us into the longer term on any sensible viewpoint of timelines). Indeed, without its inclusion they claim that the NLWP, over a decade in the making, constituting thousands of pages and costing ratepayers a small fortune to date, would be “unsound”, ie effectively waste.
So, that’s no plans at all for it after all this time and work to fit into the NLWP but it’s so important that the whole show tumbles without it.
And as a cherry on this cake, the NLWP Policy which seeks to assist the climate challenge –“ make the fullest possible contribution to climate change adaption and mitigation”, is seen by the NLWA as an “unrealistic expectation” and as such should be deleted.
Waste does appear to operate in a parallel world, albeit we are expected to pay for it.
Helen Blairman's Avatar
Helen Blairman posted a reply #4739 08 Aug 2019 15:49
Am surprised at the completely binary response to the bin collection petition. Basil your opinion on this matter is not wholly accurate as the concerns surrounding the consultation were that many were not aware of its existence or the issues associated with the changes. The original petition started by me was designed to ask the council for clarification on its changes. That cannot be deemed unreasonable. Having worked within recycling for many years I am aware that the main way people will follow recycling protocols is to educate them clearly on what can or cannot be placed in a blue bin. Stopping the service will go no way towards ensuring effective recycling. As the black bins are much smaller there is a real possibility that blue bins will become contaminated and will subsequently not be emptied at all. That is already happening so denying it as a possibility is merely sticking your head in a bin.
The council which you speak so highly of has consistently refused all requests for any kind of meeting or discussion on the matter. The cabinet member for the environment has been completely anonymous. He has at no time said anything. At the council meeting on the 10/7 the Bin petitioners were treated like pariahs by the leader and her whip who were both caught filming us on their phones despite a no photos rules throughout the chamber. This was clearly designed to intimidate us.
I did not compose the second petition but understand its sentiments completely. Had the council shown the 6722 petitioners of the original petition the courtesy and respect of a meeting to discuss concerns highlighted by the changes, instead of hiding behind an outdated policy then perhaps the need for capital letters and anger might have been avoided.
Many responses on this forum are misguided or inaccurate. I do not expect flat dwellers to subsidise my garden rubbish. I pay for the so called privilege of a garden with proportionately higher council tax. A stealth tax on garden waste serves no purpose as the amount of revenue raised is extremely small. I am nevertheless extremely concerned that the bin collections have been interfered with because they are one of the few things in the council’s budget that aren’t ring fenced. Nevertheless as a resident who has just paid 3% increase on council tax I believe I am entitled to question the rationale of the bin collection changes. 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!
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #4742 12 Aug 2019 11:35
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.

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

See also...

  • 16 October 2020
Community First councillors on why they left the Labour Party

The latest webinar published in the GlobalNet21 YouTube channel is an interview with Councillors Dinah Barry (Winchmore Hill) and Derek Levy (Southgate), two of four councillors who have this year left the Labour Party because they disapprove of the way the Labour Party Group in Enfield is being run. Read more

  • 12 October 2020
Dugdale changes: A better (and cheaper) alternative?

In March, despite protests, Enfield's cabinet agreed to go ahead with a plan to set up a centralised children and families hub on the first and second floors, despite, it seems, not having identified a suitable new home for the borough's well regarded archives and local history library. Ever since local the Enfield Society and other civic sector organisations have been seeking in vain to enter into satisfactory dialogue with the council about this. They have now published an alternative plan which, they say, would not only allow the museum and archives to remain at the Dugdale, along with conference facilities and rooms for hire by community organisations, but would actually save more money than the council's proposal. Read more

  • 08 September 2020
Changes to waste and recycling collection services

Enfield Council is making changes to arrangements for collection of waste and recyclables. Aluminium foil and carrier bags can now be recycled, but from 5th October households will no longer be able to put out extra bags of general waste. Read more

  • 22 August 2020
Report shows value of telephone befriending during lockdown

A recently published report into telephone befriending in Enfield during lockdown provides a snapshot of the issues affecting residents in the 'vulnerable' and/or 'shielding' categories and shows the value of telephone befriending and of other services that were provided, such as delivery of food and medicines. Most call recipients were pleased to receive the calls and a core continued to receive these throughout the period, not missing a call. The report recommends that the council should be ready to reactivate the service in case there is a second wave or a local lockdown. Read more

  • 05 August 2020
Third councillor leaves Labour Party

Southgate Green councillor Daniel Anderson today became the third Labour member on Enfield Council to leave the party. He joins fellow former Labour councillors Derek Levy (Southgate) and Dinah Barry (Winchmore Hill) in the new Community First group on the council. All three have stated that they remain committed to the Labour values that they were elected on, but can no longer work with council leader Nesil Caliskan. Read more

Subscribe to the weekly newsletter

Enter email then copy the letters in the captcha box


By submitting this form you agree that Palmers Green Community can send you a weekly email newsletter and store your email address

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of every newsletter