Search

Camden Council attacked for ‘incompetence’ amid ‘chaos’ of fortnightly rubbish collections

PUBLISHED: 19:10 11 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:12 12 April 2017

Rubbish in the Chalcots Estate in Dorney.       Picture: Tom Simon

Rubbish in the Chalcots Estate in Dorney. Picture: Tom Simon

Archant

Camden Council has been accused of “incompetence” as critics blast the “chaos” of the new rubbish collection sytem.

Alongside a storm on social media – where increasing numbers of users have been posting pictures of waste strewn across Camden streets – residents and politicians have attacked the move to fortnightly waste collections in parts of the borough.

Leader of Camden Conservatives Claire-Louise Leyland said she was told by staff that contractors Veolia and Camden Council were having an “emergency meeting” today to deal with rubbish problems, adding: “Once again Camden Labour seems out of touch – they’re out of touch with residents and out of touch with the stress that frontline staff are experiencing”.

But a spokesman for Camden Council told the Ham&High that no emergency meeting has taken place or was planned to deal with the new system, which was inaugurated on April 1.

He added: “We meet Veolia regularly to discuss and resolve issues, especially during the introduction of new services.”

Camden Tory Ben Seifert highlighting an apparent superfluity of bins.         Picture: Twitter Camden Tory Ben Seifert highlighting an apparent superfluity of bins. Picture: Twitter

Environment cabinet member Cllr Meric Apak did apologise to residents who have had a “long wait” while calling to report problems with the new system, however.

He added: “I want to assure residents that we are working hard to resolve any initial issues they are experiencing in what is only the second week of the changed service.”

Cllr Leyland, who represents Belsize ward, said that nearly one in every 10 households affected by the changes – which mostly applies to the north of the borough – had called to report problems on just one day, with residents being informed by call centre staff that this was normal.

But a council spokesman rejected her figure of 3,000 people calling on one day, clarifying that it was “physically impossible”.

Camden Tory Joel Roberts branding a street 'disgraceful'.        Picture: Twitter Camden Tory Joel Roberts branding a street 'disgraceful'. Picture: Twitter

Around 2,800 calls were made on April 3, he added, but some of those were made by the same people.

In response to general complaints about the new system, Cllr Apak said he understood the waste service “has to work well for our diverse borough”.

He added: “There will inevitably be a bedding-in period whilst residents get used to their own changes.

“But any major change in life – like starting school or moving house – comes with uncertainties.”

Broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer was not happy on day 3 of the new system.        Picture: Twitter Broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer was not happy on day 3 of the new system. Picture: Twitter

He also told the Ham&High that by “appropriately separating waste and recycling, residents can help us become leaders in recycling in London” and make Camden “even more environmentally friendly”.

He added that the new contract saves Camden £5million and is necessary to improve the borough’s recycling rate, which is currently 25 per cent.

But Cllr Leyland rejected that explanation, stressing that the problems are not merely “teething troubles”.

She added: “Camden Labour need to admit that this contract isn’t working and their new leader needs to commit to bringing back our weekly collections.”

Swiss Cottage Conservatives complaining.            Picture: Twitter Swiss Cottage Conservatives complaining. Picture: Twitter

Meanwhile Tom Simon, former Lib Dem councillor for Belsize and current chairman of the Camden branch of the party, also attacked Labour for its policy.

He said: “Labour has shown its incompetence on this issue by plunging in and imposing these very significant changes on the whole borough without testing them first.

“The £75 garden waste charge is a mistake and should be withdrawn – it hits older people disproportionately and discourages people from looking after their gardens. Surely we want people to recycle their garden waste.”

He said that the system is “stick only” and no carrot, adding: “It risks making the council’s poor track record on dealing with fly tipping worse as well.”

Camden Tory Henry Newman highlights mess in Highgate.                 Picture: Twitter Camden Tory Henry Newman highlights mess in Highgate. Picture: Twitter

Mr Simon also said that the council “either forgot” or “deliberately left” rubbish in the Chalcots Estate in Dorney so they could concentrate on areas “more visible to the public”

“Allowing a massive build up of rubbish on council estates is incompetent and unfair,” he added.

To check collection arrangements and view a list of FAQs, visit camden.gov.uk/recyclingandrubbish

To report a problem or ask a question about collections, email Veolia at uk.occamden@veolia.com or call 020 7974 2202.

A user bemoaning the state of Church Row in Hampstead.            Picture: Twitter A user bemoaning the state of Church Row in Hampstead. Picture: Twitter

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

16:27

A woman murdered in Muswell Hill last week has been named, as the police are urging anybody who saw her on Wednesday 15 or Thursday 16 November to get in touch.

14:40

Overground service will not be running from Camden Road to Stratford for a week during the Christmas period and on weekends into February while the Highbury Corner bridge is demolished.

12:23

Camden headteachers have joined forces to highlight the impact of “relentless cuts” in the run-up to Philip Hammond’s budget announcement on Wednesday.

06:00

West Hampstead actress Emma Thompson has joined the campaign calling for the release of West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who will have spent 600 days in jail on Thursday

Yesterday, 23:32

Shocked neighbours paid tribute to a woman in her 50s found stabbed to death at her home in Muswell Hill.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Customers and traders are celebrating after Alexandra Palace have done a u-turn on the number of hot food stalls at the weekly farmers’ market.

Friday, November 17, 2017

When St John’s Wood film director Stuart Hazeldine became the latest moped phone snatch victim, he thought there was a good chance of getting the device back when the “Find My iPhone” app said it was in Elia Mews, Islington.

Friday, November 17, 2017

There was the famous tabloid story of a man spotting the face of Jesus in his Kit-Kat.

PROMOTED CONTENT

An opportunity of a lifetime has arisen for media-savvy students at City of Westminster College and the College of North West London.

Education editor James Scott speaks to Sarah Creasey about life as headteacher of Parliament Hill School.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now