Monday 21 July 2014

Brent Cabinet approve £40 annual charge for green waste despite protests

Despite representations by local resident Martin Redston and a written submission from Brent Friends of the Earth, Brent's Cabinet approved changes to the waste collection system this afternoon.

This will include a £40 annual fee for the collection of green waste, a weekly waste food caddy collection and weekly blue bin dry recyclable collection.

Martin Redston spoke to the Cabinet about the difficult of composting large branches ansd took along some samples. He said that some residents only need a few green waste collections a year coinciding with specific times in the gardening calendar. He  pointed out that cross subsidies already exist across the different levels of services residents receive.

The discussion in the Cabinet suggested that Brent's priority was to increase dry recycling rates and that member residents required more frequent blue top bin collections - the £40 charge would help fund this.

The statement from Brent Friends of the Earth LINK was read out but the Cabinet went on to approve the changes, including the £40 charge.

It is worth pointing out that the Council only set out the specification for the new Public realm contract last year with the report  LINK to the Executive in October 2013, less than one year ago, with no mention of these suggested changes and  certainly the introduction of charges in the specification.

However this paragraph is significant:
During the competitive dialogue process the financial outlook for local government has deteriorated further and Brent Council now faces a budget shortfall of £20m in 2014/15’.
The Medium Term Financial Plan is currently being changed to revise the £55m shortfall between 2014/15 and 2016/17 and will be communicated to members shortly. As a result officers asked bidders to identify other savings options which were not part of the financial evaluation. Within the contract there is a change control mechanism that will help the authority and Veolia to accurately price any service changes during the life of the contract, ensuring that prices are transparent and fair to both parties.
'Both parties' here refers to the Council and Veolia - are they transparent and fair to residents?

 Shahrar Ali, Brent Green Party spokesperson on the environment, said:
--> Brent's latest proposal to implement a green bin charge is ill-thought out. Environmentally, it sends the wrong signal to residents keen to recycle garden waste that is too thick or bulky to do so in their back gardens, but can be managed borough-wide. It discriminates against those who may be unable to do their own composting due to disabilities or other valid reasons. Also it treats residual grey bin waste fit for landfill as somehow more worthy of free collection than recyclable matter in the waste hierarchy. Financially, the imposition of such a flat charge for green bins is extraordinarily expensive for householders already facing real terms cuts in living standards. The Brent administration is clearly out of touch with the everyday pressures people face and its own environmental responsibilities, even to propose such a change,Comments on Wembley Matters and the Kilburn Times website include fears that in order to avoid the charges people  will resort to the fly-tipping of garden waste or its burning, leading to increased air pollution, and it might even accelerate the paving over of gardens.

The current charges for Brent's Household Reuse and Recycling Centre can be found HERE


Anonymous said...

So it will be on the top of the Council Tax? Cabinet is Labour they do not represent us. All are making good money by getting heavy allowances doing NOTHING.

Anonymous said...

As a resident I will not be paying this fee.

Anonymous said...

Can't pay, won't pay

Anonymous said...

Shahrar Ali has put his finger on the button - charging for green waste

'treats residual grey bin waste fit for landfill as somehow more worthy of free collection than recyclable matter'.

Landfill waste is the most damaging to our environment. We should be reducing it. Playing devil's advocate for a moment - if a charge is unavoidable, then this is where it should be levied.

Anonymous said...

Do we know when this will start from? Will have a big prune in the garden just before hand, then go back to what we did before - compost small stuff, big stuff either burn on bonfire night or put in the grey bin.

Anonymous said...

Thats exactly what people will do, put in the grey bin, or worse still, dump it in the street.

Anonymous said...

I am already suffering from allergies to the smoke from people now burning their garden waste.

Anonymous said...

Both myself and my next door neighbour have paid the fee and Veolia has failed to make their scheduled collection. I have raised this with Brent customer services who have said they will escalate the complaint. This is ridiculous, paying more than our council tax for this service and actually receiving worse service!