Town Hall talks down ‘teething troubles' as bin collections go fortnightly

Angry residents - and Camden's Conservatives - flood Twitter with photos of dumped rubbish

Thursday, 6th April 2017 — By Tom Foot

Hamish Hunter

Conservative election candidate Hamish Hunter photographs dumped rubbish in Thurlow Road

THE new rubbish collection regime began this week, triggering a mixed reaction from residents reporting bin-bag pile-ups – with others telling critics to keep calm and carry on.

The new regime, which reduces waste collection to once a fortnight, was introduced for the first time on April 1 after 20,000 bins were delivered to homes across Camden. A new eight-year deal with contractors Veolia aims to boost recycling rates while cutting back waste collections to every fortnight.

Environment chief Cllr Meric Apak said there had been 2,900 calls to Veolia on “day one”, April 1, which was “much less than we were expecting”. He added: “Though it looks as if we are not coping, we are. What we are seeing is a reaction that is a tiny percentage of what the service is covering as a whole. This is the sort of level we will receive for the next 14 days. I expect that to last for about two weeks. There is nothing to worry about. Everything will settle down.”

Daniel Walker, who lives in West Hampstead, complained after finding a new council bin outside his property already containing stinking rubbish from a different address in Hampstead. He said: “Meanwhile, one bin has randomly appeared on my property. It smelt of stale beer so I looked inside and there was already some rubbish. From an address on Platt’s Lane.”

Newspaper columnist and radio broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer has been tweeting images of overflowing bins in Greencroft Gardens, West Hampstead, to the Camden Council account, while Dame Hilary Blume, who lives in Hampstead, described Camden’s new arrangements as “byzantine” on Twitter, adding: “Dustbin men said they couldn’t understand the rules either. #Camdenrubbish.”

But Julietta Cochrane, who lives in Queen’s Crescent, said: “Camden is merely joining the 86 per cent of the country that manage perfectly well with non-recyclable rubbish collected twice monthly. There will be some small behavioural changes required on the part of residents, however, the elderly and disabled are offered assisted collections.”

The introduction of the fortnightly rubbish collections has sent Camden Tories into a Twitter frenzy. Conservative Party candidates, and councillors, have been relentlessly posting images of themselves frowning next to rubbish in the street.

Henry Newman

Yesterday (Wednesday),  Henry Newman, who is standing in next year’s council elections in Highgate, posted a photo of himself squatting next to a large green bin, apparently locked up in chains by a resident. Mr Newman said: “The food waste is quite confusing as well. You can’t put a chicken carcass in the food bin. Bits of a chicken you can, but not the whole chicken. If you have a roast chicken or chicken soup you can’t put a carcass in the food bin. Then there are separate questions about what to do with sanitary products or dog poo with bins emptied once a fortnight. It is not pleasant.”

Council leader Sarah Hayward has questioned whether the Conservatives’ bin photos are simply “overloaded as they sometimes are”, adding: “And there will be teething troubles. We can all play our part in helping changes bed it.” The Town Hall, as part of a new contract with Veolia, has outsourced complaints to the firm and has also developed a mobile phone app – Clean Camden – that allows residents to log their complaints.

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