Camden Council knocks back bin service review despite cross-party support for opposition move

A mound of rubbish in Frognal. Picture: Hampstead Village Voice

A mound of rubbish in Frognal. Picture: Hampstead Village Voice - Credit: Archant

Camden Council has rejected a review of its rubbish collection services after the opposition claimed the town hall was “marking its own homework”.

Veolia's latest contract with Camden Council began in 2017. Picture: Veolia

Veolia's latest contract with Camden Council began in 2017. Picture: Veolia - Credit: Archant

The Camden Conservatives tabled a motion by Cllr Steve Adams (Belsize) on Monday calling for an independent panel to assess the council’s waste collection.

The Labour-run council instead voted through an amendment which removed the request for a review and that praised the borough’s recycling rate of 31.1%.

Bin collections were reduced to every fortnight in April 2017 after the council signed an eight-year contract with Veolia.

The latest dispute over refuse came at a meeting of the full council.

Cllr Adam Harrison praised the flexibility of the council's rubbish collection contract. Picture: Camden Council

Cllr Adam Harrison praised the flexibility of the council's rubbish collection contract. Picture: Camden Council - Credit: Archant


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Cllr Adams said changes to the contract in 2017 were “gargantuan” and that the council’s services not being “fully set after engagement with residents” was an “oversight”.

Tory leader Cllr Oliver Cooper (Hampstead Town) said Camden recycled 8% less than it did last year and that the number of missed bin collections had doubled in the last three years.

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He said the issues could not be attributed to Covid-19 or the council’s Clean Camden app through which residents can report rubbish on the street.

“The problems with the contract are deep seated and need a root and branch review to see what could be changed,” Cllr Cooper said.

Cllr Oliver Cooper called for a "root and branch" review. Picture: Cllr Oliver Cooper

Cllr Oliver Cooper called for a "root and branch" review. Picture: Cllr Oliver Cooper - Credit: Oliver Cooper

“Whlist there could be trade-offs, it’s important to find out whether residents agree with the option that we take when it comes to those trade-offs.”

Cllr Cooper said the council’s lack of external review meant it was “marking its own homework” and that it needed more than just “yes men from within”.

Cllr Adam Harrison (Bloomsbury), Camden Council’s environment lead, said the “flexibility” of the town hall’s rubbish collection contract had allowed it to “deal with the problems”, including increasing the number of collections in West End Lane.

West Hampstead councillor Shiva Tiwari (Labour), welcomed the “greater focus on recycling and sustainability” but said the council “can and must do better”. He said more resident education was needed.

Rubbish in Rosslyn Hill. Picture: Sebastian Wocker

Rubbish in Rosslyn Hill. Picture: Sebastian Wocker - Credit: S Wocker

Despite support for the Conservative motion from three Liberal Democrats and one Green Party councillor, the Labour amendment which rejected the external review was passed by the council.

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