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Barnet Council hoping on last-minute agreement with North London Waste Authority after failing to find contractor for new recycling scheme
Barnet Council has nowhere to put millions of tonnes of recycling it is due to start collecting from thousands of homes in four weeks' time.
Opposition politicians have warned the new in-house system, due to take effect on October 14, is “in danger of becoming a shambles” after it emerged the council has yet to sign a contract with any waste handling companies.
An urgent council notice published this week revealed the authority failed in its bid to find a “cost-effective option” in the private sector and is instead being forced to bring forward a contract with the North London Waste Authority.
The authority, made up of seven London councils including Barnet, is due to take on the handling of the recycling in 2015, but cabinet members will meet on September 24 to try to bring the deal forward.
Council officers have warned the Tory politicans they have until October 7 to agree a contract, stating in the notice there is now “no prospect of a suitable and timely alternative” to the waste authority.
Oposition Labour group leader Alison Moore criticised the Conservative administration for it’s apparent last-ditch scramble for a contract.
She said: “I think a lot of residents will be shocked by this news. They have been promoting this scheme since the spring and I think the people of Barnet will be duly uneasy that the recycling they will be carefully sorting currently has nowhere to go.
“The Tories have put such an emphasis on the private sector but in this case it appears to have let them down. The whole thing is in danger of becoming a shambles.”
The council this week began delivering 330,000 new containers in preparation for its new system, under which residents can recycle larger amounts and a wider range of materials.
But the politician overseeing the implementation of the scheme denied there would be an issue with disposal.
Councillor Dean Cohen, cabinet member for environment, said: “It has always been our intention that all our recycling will go to the North London Waste Authority in two years.
“As a Plan B we looked at whether we could get a better financial deal over the next couple of years while we make huge changes to our recycling service.
“We couldn’t, therefore we are proposing to bring forward the arrangements available to us through the NLWA.”
Jason Armitage, head of waste and recycling at Barnet Council, said: “I’m not concerned.
“I can’t discuss it for sensitive reasons but it will turn out as the plan was all along – there will be no hiccups.”
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