Labour ends weekly bin collection across north of the borough - despite a manifesto promise to retain it at the last Council elections
After months of sitting on the information, Camden's Labour administration has revealed that most of the north of Camden will lose its weekly bin collections and have only fortnightly collections from April.
The decision, taken by Labour councillors in July 2016 but only revealed this month, will come into effect on 1st April this year. Residents weren't consulted about which streets would lose weekly collections, meaning many Camden streets having their service cut despite being completely unsuited to less frequent collections.
Most of the north of Camden - including Hampstead, West Hampstead, Fortune Green, Swiss Cottage, Kilburn, Belsize Park, Highgate, Primrose Hill, Gospel Oak, and Kentish Town - will lose their weekly service for non-recyclable waste. By contrast, all streets south of Camden Town will retain weekly collections: creating an unfair divide in our borough.
Camden Conservative councillors have fought against the move, including initiating a formal 'call-in' process to re-examine the decision and asking repeated questions about the plan, but it was forced through, with the details kept secret.
Local Conservatives will push for a weekly service to be restored to as much as possible, and help reverse the tide under Labour of cuts to services while residents' Council Tax goes up.
Labour's broken manifesto pledge.
The end of weekly bin collections comes despite a hard and fast promise in Labour's 2014 manifesto not to cut the service.
Their 2014 manifesto stated, "Camden Labour guarantees that we will maintain weekly bin collections for the whole of our four-year term". Instead, they secretly planned to cut services and refused to tell residents.
Meanwhile, Conservative-run Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea continue to collect all residents' rubbish at least twice a week and Barnet collects weekly, ensuring their boroughs' streets are clean and safe.
The cut to Camden's service will mean inconvenience for residents and more fly-tipping on our streets.
Labour's Garden Tax
Alongside the end of weekly collections, Camden is introducing a £75 Garden Tax from April.
Camden will only collect garden waste from people that apply and pay for it. Some will avoid this cost and bureaucracy — either by choice or because they are unaware — leading to fly-tipping of garden waste.
Moreover, by creating extra complexity, it is likely to lead to some homes missing collections by accident.
Conservatives have fought against this tax and will continue to do so, so core services remain free.
Camden's recycling rate plummets to just 25%
Despite claims that the end of weekly collections is aimed at increasing recycling, Camden's recycling rate has plummeted on Labour's watch, with just 25% of waste now recycled: down from 32% in 2010, when local Conservative councillor Chris Knight ran the service.
This is one of the lowest rates in the country, having been one of the highest before Labour took charge of Camden in 2010. While recycling has increased nationally, it has fallen in Camden.
Households in the north of the borough recycle more than the south, yet are being rewarded by having their services cut!
Camden Labour's 2014 manifesto said they would "aim to increase recycling rates", but the exact opposite has happened. Just 2% of Camden's waste and recycling budget is spent on informing people how to recycle more and penalising fly-tippers.
Conservative councillors will work to raise recycling rates through education and enforcement, rather than penalising residents by cutting services.