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Recycling poll - are you happy with Barnet Council's new scheme?
Barnet Council has admitted the introduction of its new recycling scheme has been far from glitch-free
We’ve seen rubbish piled up outside homes, “apoplectic” councillors, potential fines for contractors and questions over possible environmental breaches.
Barnet Borough Council has already admitted the introduction of its new in-house recycling system has been far from glitch-free – but we want to know what you, our readers, think. (Scroll down to vote)
Following months of planning, on October 14 the council finally sent live the operation it hopes will increase recycling rates and decrease landfill.
But before the first new blue bin could be collected, teething problems had begun with news that Barnet Council had nowhere to put the millions of tonnes of waste.
The authority had failed to find an affordable handling plant in time and was forced to bring forward a deal with the North London Waste Authority by two years.
Days later, the council was forced into its first apology when it emerged that logistics contractor SSI Schaefer, responsible for delivering 330,000 new containers to 110,000 homes, was running late.
Councillor Dean Cohen, the cabinet member in charge, said he was “apocalyptic” with rage (later corrected to “apoplectic” by a red-faced press officer), and insisted the authority would look at fining the company.
In the midst of the delivery delay, waste began piling up outside homes across the borough as regular collections were halted for a week while bin men and other staff were trained in the new system.
Soon after the mixed (co-mingled) scheme was introduced, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published a reminder to local authorities about EU regulations due to be introduced in 2015, which state that recycling must be collected separately.
Cllr Cohen was forced to defend his strategy, pointing to a loophole that exonerated Barnet in what he described as the “red herring” regulations.
Meanwhile, SSI Schaefer was still attempting to deliver more than 11,000 outstanding bins in time for the first collections.
The distributor managed to complete its rounds six days after the original deadline, but many households had missed their collection day and some complained they had failed to receive a bin at all.
The end result? Barnet Council has tentatively tried to spin the introduction as a success.
The authority says that, at 777 tonnes, it has collected more recycling in the two-week collection (given the missed week for training) than an average fortnight total of 600 tonnes under the old system.
Cllr Cohen admits there were problems. He issued yet another apology for the delays and thanked people for “embracing” the new system, the results of which he says he is “delighted with”.
But what do you think about the scheme and its introduction? You can finally have your say, and we will pass the results to Barnet Council.
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