The Independent London Newspaper
18th October 2017

NEW JOURNAL COMMENT: More thought needed over new rubbish collection system

    A massive £224million contract for rubbish collection in Camden is due to be awa

    A massive £224million contract for rubbish collection in Camden is due to be awarded to a mystery company

    Published: 11 August, 2016

    TOO little is publicly known about the rubbish collection contract for a properly informed decision to be made. The vast sums due to be handed to a private company have been disclosed, but the council’s preferred bidder is not, because of “commercial sensitivity”. 

    For it to be allowed, residents must be properly informed about what they are up against.

    Camden Conservatives are, sensibly, “calling in” the proposals, arguing for more investigation. There has been much squabbling between Conservative and Labour councillors over what the impact of the scheme will be.

    The call-in meeting, next Wednesday, is a chance for the public to have their say. 

    Many inner London councils already operate once-a-fortnight bin collections. Experience shows that recycling rates will rise. The council must strike a balance between its laudable goals and the basic desires of residents not to have stinking bags of rubbish piling up outside their homes and in the streets. 

    Although there is no real truth in it, the perception of many residents is that timely and efficient waste removal is one of the few services they get for their council tax. 

    Camden has, comparatively, poor rates for recycling – ranking 333rd out of 352 councils across the country. At 23 per cent, the borough falls well short of its stated target of 50 per cent of waste being recycled by 2020. 

    The proposal to introduce a charge for garden waste collection also needs to be given proper scrutiny. There are concerns that some residents could concrete over green areas. The scourge of fly-tipping, already a serious problem in some parts of the borough, will surely increase.

    The central aim to increase recycling rates in Camden must be applauded. It is something that all residents should be mindful of and take upon themselves to improve. But the council needs to take the public with them on this one. 

    Unhealthy list

    THE plight of the long-serving Kentish Town barber is one that is no doubt being felt by many other residents across Camden following changes to the housing waiting list system. 

    The decision to strip points off housing list applicants with proven medical conditions appears short-sighted at best, and, at worst, callous.

    The council argues that its new pared-down housing list means it can more effectively meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable residents on the list. 

    But there will be many who, after many years of waiting for a better home, will now be feeling helpless and at their wits end. They will also, like barber George, feel that their physical and mental frailties do not count for anything in the eyes of the authorities. 

    A High Court judge will settle the dispute in October.