The new recycling scheme introduced by Brent Council’s Labour administration is exceeding all expectations, with a whopping 50% increase in recycling within the first days of the new waste collection system.
Brent Labour ambitiously promised to bring in plans to more than double the borough’s recycling rate from 28% to 60% in their manifesto leading to the overwhelming Labour victory at the May 2010 Council elections.
Early figures show that blue bin recycling is up from 41 tonnes per day in October last year, to 61 tonnes this year. The figures are bound to improve even further when flats join the new scheme later this year. Hopefully as initial glitches are also ironed out and more people get used to the new system, this will have an even more positive impact on recycling rates in Brent.
Brent Labour has prioritised recycling for environmental reasons, and to save money and protect other council services. Sending recyclable materials to landfill causes huge environmental damage, contaminating land and contributing to greenhouse emissions.
As well as the environmental damage, Tory Liberal landfill taxes mean the Council will save millions of pounds by increasing recycling.
Cllr James Powney, Lead Member for Environment and Neighbourhoods, said:
“I’d like to thank residents for so enthusiastically embracing the new recycling scheme, and making it such a success so early on.
Labour is the only party in Brent committed to increasing recycling, and I’m very proud that we’ve gone ahead with this improved system which will make us one of the greenest borough’s in the country.”
I am dismayed at the lack of kerbside recycling facilities available to residents who live on Selbie Avenue and Severn Way in Dudden Hill Ward. I have written to the Director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services at Brent Council to see what precise facilities will be available for residents once the new waste strategy is in place in October 2011.
Tonight I will be chairing the Willesden Area Forum at the College of North West London (Willesden Campus). Join us from 7.30pm tonight where we will be discussing Brent’s Household Waste Strategy, proposals for changes to an emissions based Parking Charges and the Crest Girls Academy.
The Willesden Area Forum covers Dollis Hill, Dudden Hill, Welsh Harp, Willesden Green and during the break, you will have the opportunity to speak to your ward councillors, the Safer Neighbourhood Team, speakers and council officers.
Our number one promise to the electorate for the 2010 Local Elections was the scrapping of the unpopular £25 charge for bulky item collection for residents which the Lib Dems have attempted to delay the implementation of. Despite this, we are still hoping to have the service available for Brent residents from 1st October 2010.
But we’ve decided to go further than our pledge to scrap the £25 charge. Part of our vision in the build up to the Local Election was to make Brent a greener Borough.
We are now paving the stones to fulfill that vision, as Brent under Labour is setting an example that we hope that other Local Authorities will be adopting. Our overhaul of rubbish and recycling collection is part of the wider Waste Strategy, which at the heart of it aims to more than double the recycling rate of the Borough from what is is now at 28% to 60%. Under our proposals, landfill waste will be collected every two weeks and recycle and compostable waste every week. The weekly green bin waste collection service will be extended to 28,000 properties who currently have no such provision.
According to a report Undertaken as part of the Council’s Improvement and Efficiency Programme, the change in policy will result in efficiency savings in excess of £1 million due to less money going towards landfill tax. Basically as it stands at the moment, we are paying to put our rubbish into a big hole in the ground. WE NEED TO END OUR RELIANCE ON LANDFILL.
In addition, we have a statutory obligation to achieve a recycling rate of 40% by 2011. Under the current system, this target will not be met.
Yes, there are concerns that if people do not adjust their behavior and change their habits to recycle more that the recycling rates that we are aiming to achieve may not be realised. But the same concerns existed when Brent first introduced kerbside recycling and after an initial lag in changing behavior as people transit to become used to a new scheme, it is now relatively successful. If we keep faith that everyone will cooperate to make this revolutionary scheme work, we can make a difference and set an example for Local Authorities around the country to follow.
The moves that we have made show our commitment to making Brent a greener Borough. Our revolutionary Waste Strategy sets a vision will lay a platform that aims to increase our recycling rates and this recent proposal reported in the Telegraph reaffirms our commitment to contributing as a local authority in combating the negative impact of climate change.
Last night, on the agenda at the Forward Plan Select Committee were call ins of Executive decisions on the land use at Coniston Gardens, Waste Strategy and CPZ vehicle emission based pricing adjustment.
Kudos to Councillors Beck and Ashraf who did attend the meeting to convey their concerns to the committee and demonstrated their reasons for signing the call in by actively engaging and asking questions. The same cannot be said about the other Councillors Hayley Matthews, Simon Green, Ann Hunter who signed for the Call In as mentioned by my colleague Cllr James Powney here – LINK.
Councillors signing for call ins and then not turning up are causing embarrassment to proceedings on the committee and the system in general. At the previous Forward Plan meeting, items were on the agenda as called in and then embarrassingly skipped or skimmed over as there was confusion as to what the reason for the call in was.
Surely Councillors that sign to call in a decision should turn up to the meeting they asked for the item to be discussed at, if they are remotely interested in receiving a response.
Are the Brent Lib Dems interested in the detail of policies and providing scrutiny to make policy better or are they just opposing decisions for opposition’s sake?
Let me give you one example of a recent occurrence which has led me ask this question. The 11th August meeting included a call in on the ‘Criteria for Transport Services’ and a reason cited was ‘to review the findings of the Equality Impact Assessment’ (LINK – see item 5b), which at the time had not been completed. To call in decision based on concerns regarding a document which does not exist is beyond me.