Bins row: ‘The rats are going to have a field day’
Residents meet at Hampstead church to discuss collection changes
30 March, 2017 — By Tom Foot
‘New recycling regime is rubbish’ – residents at last night’s meeting
RUBBISH collection cutbacks will hit the vulnerable and disabled and force some to break the law by fly-tipping in the dead of night, a public meeting heard last night (Wednesday).
Residents from across were at St Stephen’s Church, Hampstead, to debate the council’s new collection regime that starts on Saturday.
Critics warned of widespread confusion over the new system – rubbish will be collected fortnightly instead of weekly, and households are forced to recycle all food waste for the first time. And they say that rats would have a field day on housing estates.
Veteran activist Petra Dando, from Camden Association of Street Properties (CASP), said: “I think this has been the most contentious issue I have ever discussed at the DMC [District Management Committee] meetings. What we are saying is that this is a community issue. There are people who just cannot deal with these changes, the elderly, the vulnerable. People are worried about how it’s going to affect the estates, with the rats and the vermin. It is a real attack on the community.”
She added: “I would be prepared to break the law over this. I will not have maggots all over the place and if you have to fly-tip then I would understand it. It’s sad. But that’s what we’re going to see.”
Camden Council will save £5million a year with its new eight-year contract with Veolia, the meeting heard. Parents have been told to wash out their children’s nappies before putting them in the recycling and the meeting heard that Camden could go back to “those days when people threw nappies out of the windows”.
The council gets more money the more its resident recycle and GMB trade union rep Dennis McNulty asked: “How much more money for the recycling will be coming into the council coffers? Is this going to transfer into local services? Who’s going to pay for the fly-tipping pick-up?” He added: “People were getting value for money when this was done in-house, now it’s external and they are charging us a mint.”
Massive wheelie bins have been delivered to Camden homes this month and Conservative Cllr Leila Roy told the meeting said she had spoken to many residents who were angry to they were blocking up shared courtyard spaces or the pavement.
Old bins are being picked up by Camden throughout April, she said.
“Right now no one knows what’s going on,” said Monica Caro, who lives in Swiss Cottage. “Thousands have complained but they just ignore us. There is no room for these bins on the street. What about a blind person?”
The meeting heard concerns about young people picking on isolated tenants by stealing or setting fire to bins. Many people are being forced to recycle waste for first time and some would be “nicked” for making mistakes early on. CASP passed a vote of no confidence in the recycling contract and there were calls to unite local groups across Camden.
The council declined an invitation to attend.