Barnet Council will stop brown bin collections despite warnings from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan that he could overturn a decision to scrap them.

The environment committee last night (September 13) voted to suspend separate food waste collections – a move the council claims will allow it to save money by making changes to ‘outdated’ collection routes.

The council has pledged to carry out a review to look at the most environmentally friendly and economical waste collection arrangements for the borough.

But Labour members of the environment committee blasted the council for refusing to sign up to a review of waste collections proposed by the Greater London Authority.

They also pointed out that the separate collections could have to be reinstated if the mayor intervenes – which could wipe out any savings made.

Labour environment spokesperson Councillor Alan Schneiderman described the council’s decision to carry out its own review as “another hare-brained scheme thought up at the last minute”.

He said: “We are doing some unclear review over an undisclosed timescale.

“Why can’t you stop making up policies on the back of a fag packet? If you want to stop (waste collections), at least be honest about what you are doing.”

The council revealed plans to scrap separate food waste collections at an environment committee in May – a move it claims will save £300,000 a year.

But the mayor of London later warned the council he could overturn the decision because it contravenes the London Environment Strategy (LES).

The LES directs councils to run separate food waste collections to meet ambitious targets for a 50 per cent household waste recycling rate by 2030.

Barnet Council leader Richard Cornelius claimed the mayor could not overturn the decision because it would lead to an “excessive additional cost” for the council.

Cllr Schneiderman questioned how much money the council had spent on legal advice in a bid to challenge the GLA.

The council’s strategic director of environment, Jamie Blake, said he did not know, prompting Cllr Schneiderman to ask officers to write to him with the figures.

Labour member for East Barnet Jo Cooper asked why the separate collections had to be stopped while the bin rounds were changed.

She said: “I just wondered why you couldn’t maintain food waste collections while you are investigating, rather than stop and think about reinstating it?

“Continue while you are reviewing and then decide what to do when you have reviewed the service.”

Mr Blake replied: “A large amount of savings are tied into this. I need to make sure we are not overspending.”

The report’s recommendations were passed, with the six Conservative committee members voting in favour and the four Labour councillors voting against.

The decision means Barnet’s separate food waste collections will be suspended from November 4.