A ‘garbage mountain’ on an estate in Colindale has been compared to the Winter of Discontent as the borough’s bin collection problems continue.

Uncollected rubbish lay piled high on the Grahame Park estate after several weeks of missed collections – and some residents reported seeing rats in the area.

Barnet Council changed collection routes on November 4 in a bid to save money and make the service more efficient – but the shake-up has led to ongoing disruption for some households.

Cllr Gill Sargeant, Labour member for Colindale, said: “These pictures remind me of the Winter of Discontent!

“Barnet’s Conservative administration are so hopelessly incompetent that a garbage mountain has grown over the Christmas period – they are incapable of collecting rubbish properly.

“This is a costly error from an incompetent administration.”

Zara Winstone, who took the photographs of the rubbish mound on Long Mead on Monday (January 7), emailed the council to report seeing “several rats” in the area.

Commenting on the photos on Facebook forum Inside Mill Hill, Tanja Oechler said: “We live in London; it’s the 20th Century – not some third-world country where there are no funds.

“Vermin will soon be everywhere, but hey, Barnet does not deal with pest control no more because it’s not in the budget. Well done Tories!”

On Sunday (January 6), Lorna Mahoney posted in the same forum: “The rubbish bins on Grahame Park estate – I live on the edge of the estate – have not been emptied.

“I have just seen a great big rat – why do we have to put up with it? All the bins are overflowing. I thought I saw a dustcart, but it wasn’t coming here.

“Barnet Council sort it out – we pay our council tax not to look at all this rubbish.”


Labour’s environment spokesperson Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “The bin collection chaos is still continuing. We are now two months in and it is clear there are serious problems.

“Some of the pictures are truly shocking. Cllr Cohen (the council’s environment committee chairman) needs to get a grip and sort it out.”

At a full council meeting in December, Cllr Schneiderman called on Cllr Cohen to resign over the bin disruption.

Barnet Council confirmed the rubbish mound on Long Mead had now been removed.

The leader of Barnet Council, Cllr Richard Cornelius, apologised to residents who faced disruption to bin collections over the festive period and said the council had been “working hard to resolve these local issues”.

He added: “I believe we are now starting to move in the right direction. All but a small number of Monday’s collections were completed yesterday, with the outstanding collections being finished on Tuesday morning.

“Tuesday’s collections have largely been competed as scheduled. Our focus this week is about building on that positive momentum, ensuring we do everything we can to collect residents’ recycling and waste on the allocated days. We have deployed additional staff to help us to do this.”

Cllr Cornelius thanked street scene staff for “working around the clock for our residents”.