A fresh row broke out over bin rounds after a report showed Barnet Council is set to spend £1.8 million more than expected on its frontline waste service.

The overspend comes amid disruption at the Oakleigh Road South waste depot in New Southgate due to cracks in an access road caused by ground movement.

Contained in the performance report for the second quarter of the municipal year, the figure is £650,000 higher than was forecast in the first quarter.

The report, which was discussed at a meeting of the council’s environment committee on Wednesday (November 27), says the overspend is caused by “running the service from two sites, increases in staffing costs and increases in fleet repair costs attributable to vehicle ageing”.

Labour’s environment spokesman Cllr Alan Schneiderman claimed the council’s efforts to save money on waste rounds had seemingly led to higher costs.

Cllr Schneiderman told the meeting: “We were told that what turned out to be disastrous changes to bin collection rounds were supposed to be making savings, but instead the cost seems to be spiralling out of control.

“It is significantly worse than last quarter. What is being done to put it right?”

Geoff Mee, interim executive director for environment, said: “We have had some problems with the [Oakleigh Road] depot. That was down to the way it was built.

“We are in discussions with the contractor that built it to do the remedial work.

“We have done everything we can to mitigate this issue. It is completely out of our control in terms of the integrity of the roadway and access.”

But Cllr Schneiderman said the report referred to “rebalancing” the bin rounds – a process that started in November 2018.

He said: “We were told this had been sorted out. Now we hear there are still problems with round rebalancing, staffing costs, fleet repair costs – and now we have got the depot on top of it. It does seem things are going in the wrong direction.”

Committee chairman Cllr Dean Cohen (Conservative, Golders Green) said: “In terms of rebalancing the rounds, Cllr Schneiderman, you know very well that only in the last few weeks a note went out to some residents regarding the changing of those rounds.

“You know very well those haven’t been implemented yet – only one day has, and only one part of the day has.

“Until the depot is fully operational again, those rounds won’t be spread how they are meant to be spread.”

Cllr Cohen added: “The problems with the depot happened and [round rebalancing] has been delayed.”

Mr Mee admitted that since taking over as environment chief he had been “very surprised at the level of disruption caused to the service by the things that happened to the depot, and prior to that with the way the service had been run”.

He added: “I am also investigating why there has been such a discrepancy in the budget at the moment.”

Mr Mee said he would talk to the council’s finance team “to see if we have got ourselves into a position where we have not accurately reflected the real cost of this service”.