I thought your readers would be interested in the issue of waste management, recycling and street cleaning in Brent given your many tweets on the issue. There is a consultation in progress about possible service changes which has not received wide publicity and ends tomorrow. I have written to Krupa Sheth asking for an extension to the consultation and expressing my concern about the proposals. I urge Wembley Matters readers to respond to the consultation here: https://haveyoursay.brent.gov.uk/en-GB/projects/future-waste-collections-and-street-cleansing-services-consultation
Dear Councillor Sheth,
The Council’s public consultation seeking residents’ views on changes to recycling and street cleaning services in Brent will conclude shortly. I am writing with concerns about the way that this consultation was conducted and about your proposed changes to these vital services.
I do not believe that enough time was given to residents to make their views known, nor do I believe that enough residents are in fact aware of the major changes the Labour Council plan to make. As such, the Liberal Democrat group is requesting an immediate extension to the consultation period and for the Council to make more of an effort to engage with local residents and listen to their concerns.
In the Summer 2022 ‘Your Brent’ magazine, which is supposedly distributed to all households in the borough, at a cost to the taxpayer, there is very little reference to this major consultation. Why? I would have thought including full details of the proposed changes to recycling and street cleaning should have been a priority in this communication from Brent Council to residents.
· Could you please confirm why informing residents about the recycling and street cleansing consultation was not prioritised in the Summer 2022 ‘Your Brent’ magazine?
The Liberal Democrat group have been circulating information about the consultation in recent weeks. The consensus from residents is that not enough time has been given for a response. Many are also unsure why information about these major changes to services were not highlighted during the recent local election campaign. The previous Labour administration would have known decisions were needed regarding budget setting and Veolia’s contract with Brent Council, surely, this should have been explained to residents during the election campaign. The perfect opportunity to engage with and seek views from residents.
I am also very concerned about the proposed changes themselves.
Firstly, I do not believe that the plan to ask residents to segregate recyclables, for collection on an alternate week basis, will work.
· What evidence is there that this system will lead to improved recycling rates?
· Have you factored in the education campaign that will be needed to ensure all residents are familiarised with this major change?
· What are the financial implications of this decision?
On street cleaning, I fear the proposals are even worse. The consultation stipulates that streets will not automatically be cleaned every week, instead they will only be cleaned “if required”.
· Who will judge whether local street cleaning is “required”?
· How exactly does the Council plan to execute this intelligence led initiative?
Local residents are rightly unhappy that services they pay for through their Council Tax, are being changed in this way. We believe it will lead to dirtier streets and worsening recycling rates in Brent. Both things we all want to avoid.
We request an urgent rethink to these proposals and more time for local people to be consulted. I am also requesting a Councillor briefing, with yourself and Council Officers, for all political groups. I am aware you have already delivered a briefing to the Labour Group, however, the Opposition need to be consulted too and afforded the opportunity to scrutinise proposals as is proper in a democratic setting.
I look forward to your response on these matters.
Cllr Anton Georgiou
Liberal Democrat Councillor, Alperton
London Borough of Brent