Camden Council ‘wheelie’ could do better

PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:34 01 October 2020

Camden Council and Veiolia's refuse

Camden Council and Veiolia's refuse "infrastructure", Rosslyn Hill. Picture: S Wocker

S Wocker

This might come as something of a shock to dear old Camden Council, but its current policy of allowing heaps of rubbish to pile up around the streets until, eventually, some private waste company turns up doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, constitute a first-world refuse infrastructure.

Sebastian WockerSebastian Wocker

As local campaigner Marx de Morais points out in the latest edition of the Hampstead Village Voice, if city councils all over the civilised world are able to provide their citizens with clean and tidy streets, why can’t Camden?

In 2018, I took a walk around a bag-strewn Hampstead with Camden’s head of environment services and Veolia’s communication’s manager. I proposed to them a system whereby tidy, attractively housed and regularly maintained Eurobins could be tucked away in Hampstead’s various mewses and alleys.

It’s not a particularly original idea. After all, until Camden hired Veolia in 2003, this was considered normal.

“But we can’t do that,” insisted the Veolia manager, “wheelie bins attract rubbish!”

Attractively housed wheelie bins are already present in various council estates and are the norm in most European high streets. Why not Camden's? Picture: S WockerAttractively housed wheelie bins are already present in various council estates and are the norm in most European high streets. Why not Camden's? Picture: S Wocker

“And huge piles of split rubbish bags, piled up on high streets don’t?” I yelped.

You may also want to watch:

Alas, my pleas fell on deaf ears.

Fast forward to annus horribilis 2020 and the Belsize Village Business Association (BVBA) has, somehow, in the middle of a lockdown, successfully reintroduced Camden Council to that rather novel idea of putting rubbish in dustbins. And, what a surprise: it works.

Hampstead Village Voice. Picture: S WockerHampstead Village Voice. Picture: S Wocker

The BVBA’S recent Clean Belsize Village programme completely eliminated the area’s ruinous, recurring rubbish mounds and Belsize Village has become a beacon of hope.

It may take some time to implement a similar programme for Hampstead. We’ll probably have to work on one micro-area at a time. We could start with, say, that ghastly mountain of rubbish near the erstwhile Lloyd’s Bank on Rosslyn Hill. Rosslyn Mews, directly opposite, could easily house three or four agreeably encased Eurobins.

The BVBA has proven that a decent refuse infrastructure is achievable. I’m more than happy to walk around Hampstead again with Camden Council and help build a local rubbish infrastructure fit for a first world borough.

More rubbish (pun intended) in the autumn edition of the Hampstead Village Voice, at newsagents now while shops last!

Sebastian Wocker is editor of Hampstead Village Voice (

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ham&High. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Hampstead Highgate Express