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London Labour council to impose fortnightly bin collections despite residents’ concerns

Lambeth Council is cutting black bin collections from weekly to every other week
Lambeth Council is cutting black bin collections from weekly to every other week - Monty Rakusen/Digital Vision

A Labour council is imposing fortnightly bin collections in a bid to help hit net zero, despite concerns from locals who fear rows flaring between neighbours.

Lambeth Council, in south London, is cutting black bin collections from weekly to every other week in April to “reduce rubbish and increase recycling” and “help achieve net zero by 2030”, while picking up recycled and food waste weekly.

This is despite its own research finding that just nine per cent of residents were not concerned about the change, approved this week as part of a £1.4 million campaign.

A consultation found that 68 per cent of respondents said they would not have enough room in their black bins, 53 per cent were concerned it would smell and 47 per cent worried it would attract vermin.

Some 34 per cent also said they were concerned about other people using their bins, with respondents warning that “neighbours misuse the bins” and that conflict “will get worse” where residents use others’ black bins when theirs are full.

Only 7,103 people in a borough with a population of nearly 330,000 responded to the council’s consultation, and 182 people gave their views at seven community drop-in sessions.

Clean-up teams to ‘blitz’ borough

The council’s report added that fears of bin disputes were “noted multiple times during the community engagement”, including how “passers-by abuse other people’s bins – using them to put their rubbish in when their own bins are full”.

It said “neighbourhood champions” would be provided to assist locals with the change, and clean-up teams would “blitz” the borough.

Research previously found that around three-quarters of English councils collect non-recyclable waste once a fortnight, a move that has sparked controversy in many areas.

Last month, the Government revealed it wants to “require local authorities to collect residual (non-recyclable) waste at least fortnightly, if not more frequently, to protect local amenity and prevent unintended consequences of cutting residual waste collection frequency”.

Ministers warned town halls last month: “The Government actively encourages councils to collect residual waste more frequently than fortnightly – this minimum standard provides a backstop, not a recommendation.”

Lambeth Council is allowing households to apply for larger bins if they have five or more members, small children that use disposable nappies, or bulky medical waste.

Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, a council cabinet member, said: “We want to support our residents to make changes that will improve their local environment and cut waste, which are important steps to take as we tackle the climate crisis.

“We’re aiming for Lambeth to be a zero-waste borough by 2030, where reducing, reusing, and recycling waste are prioritised. Currently we only recycle 32 per cent of our household waste, and we could be doing much better.

“I’m confident that together we can boost our recycling rate to reclaim our position as the best recyclers in inner London.”

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