Fortnightly bin collections to go ahead in Hackney as Conservatives threaten court action

Hackney Town Hall:Picture Ken Mears

Hackney Town Hall:Picture Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

The Town Hall’s Labour administration has successfully defended a formal challenge from Hackney Conservatives over its plans to have non-recyclable rubbish collected fortnightly from street-level properties while continuing to collect recycling and food waste weekly.

Opposition councillors called in the scheme, which should save £246,000 a year, for further scrutiny on the grounds that the cabinet failed to consider “relevant evidence”, that the decision was not in the interest of the borough’s residents.

Having quizzed council officers, councillors on Hackney Council’s scrutiny panel allowed the scheme to forge ahead with immediate effect, leading Conservative councillor Harvey Odze to end the meeting with the parting words to waste chief Cllr Jon Burke: “I’ll see you in court.”

Cllr Odze said: “This decision is one of the most absurd that I have ever come across. It totally ignores the results of the consultation, which is quite clearly against it. That decision alone is not in the interests of the borough residents, as they do not want it to happen.”

The consultation received the council’s largest ever response, with 10,000 having a say, 8,440 of whom believed it important or very important that Hackney recycles more. A majority of 52 per cent of those asked (4,766) disagreed or strongly disagreed with the proposal to collect non-recyclable waste fortnightly, with 55 per cent believing it would have a negative impact on their household. Thirty-nine per cent of respondents agreed with the proposals.

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Council officers believe the changes are the only means to boost recycling rates up to the required 33-36 per cent.

Cllr Burke said: “It ought to be noted that fortnightly waste collections are by no means uncommon in the UK. In fact, more than two thirds of England’s local authorities already operate a fortnightly waste collection, or indeed, less frequently.

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“Of the top 30 boroughs for recycling rates in the entire country, all 30 provide as a minimum a fortnightly waste collection service, and of the bottom 30 authorities for recycling in the country, all 30 provide a weekly service.”

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