H&F Council has failed to increase its recycling rates to expected levels and is still only recycling around 25% of the borough’s waste. Consequently, it has decided to introduce a compulsory recycling pilot much earlier than planned. The scheme is to be controversially tested in the wards north of Goldhawk Road, an area with the smallest amount of street properties and with the highest population of people on low incomes in the borough.
Residents in that area are being told that it is now compulsory for them to put all their recyclable waste into the orange Smart Sack bags from the 1st October onwards. Failure to do this will results in a new £100 fine.
Recycling rates were at 24% eighteen months ago under Labour, a figure that had more than trebled under that administration. I know that we were confident that we would exceed the 30% government recycling target by 2010. However, the Conservative administration has cut £1.5million from its recycling, refuse collection and street cleaning budget and I believe that the Council could have made greater progress if it had maintained a properly funded service. The borough's composting rates have also fallen off after H&F Conservatives introduced a new £6.50 charge for removing garden waste.
While I support compulsory recycling in principle I believe that it should be introduced gently and running alongside a comprehensive information programme that teaches residents what can and can't be accepted for recycling. Residents will get very fed up when the fines start to be issued and everything should be done to help those people who make genuine mistakes. I am also concerned that it is being introduced early in Hammersmith and Fulham solely to make up for the Council’s cuts in service. The Conservatives did not tell local residents that they planned this compulsory scheme in their manifesto and I cannot understand why they have decided to test it in the poorest areas of our borough.
You can find out more about the scheme by clicking here which will take you to H&F Council’s recycling web page. You can also phone them on 020 8753 1100 to talk to H&F Council’s recycling people.
Meanwhile, please write to me by clicking here to let me know if you think it is a good idea to introduce this scheme now or whether you think it’s just another money-making scam from our Conservative council?