Barnet’s recycling rate has dropped after the council stopped collecting brown food waste bins from doorsteps.

The borough’s recycling rate was 32.6 per cent at the end of the third quarter of 2018-19 – ten per cent below target.

It is also down on the 36.1 per cent rate achieved during the same period in the previous year.

Barnet Council controversially suspended separate food waste rounds in November last year as part of a bid to save money by making changes to ‘outdated’ collection routes.

A report discussed by the environment committee on Tuesday (June 4) said the fall in recycling was “due to a weather-related decrease in garden waste and the food waste recycling suspension pending service review”.

Labour environment spokesman Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “The rate is going in the wrong direction. It needs to be increasing. What plans do we have to turn that around?”

Jamie Blake, the council’s strategic director of environment, said: “We said that the recycling rate would reduce when we removed food waste collections.

“We are still one of the top performers in north London.”

Barnet had the tenth-highest recycling rate out of 32 London boroughs in 2017-18.

Mr Blake added the council was carrying out a consultation with the Greater London Authority “to look at the financial viability cost associated with future food waste collections”.

Brown bin collections could be brought back after the review has been carried out.

But Cllr Schneiderman warned proposals to charge residents to have their garden waste collected could further worsen the recycling rate.

The council plans to ask residents for their views on charging for green waste collections, but Mr Blake said a date had not yet been set for the consultation.

Environment committee members also raised concerns over a fall in the rate of pothole repairs.

In 2018-19, 78.8 per cent of the worst kind of potholes were filled within the 48-hour target – down from 87.5 per cent in the previous year.

Mr Blake said an IT system designed to help repair potholes had not been fully rolled out, adding: “Some of the lack of performance will be due to inaccurate recording”.

He said: “We have had a number of meetings with the highways team and contractors. I would hope for a significant improvement in these figures.”