Pickles to order Croydon to return to weekly collections

Tory Eric Pickles and his ConDem government could be about to hand a significant political present to Croydon’s new Labour-run council, by forcing them to bring back weekly bin collections.

BinsLabour won control of Croydon Town Hall a month ago largely on a promise to clean-up the borough’s streets. So any compulsion – and cash – from central government to return to weekly bin collections will be pushing at an open door as far as our local council is concerned.

It’s a move which will leave the defeated Tory leader of Croydon Council, Mike Fisher, all the more red-faced: he and his mates spent two years when in charge of the council turning down offers of more than £1 million in government grants to have weekly bin collections, something which is generally popular with residents.

Pickles issued an edict earlier this year to prevent other councils from following Tory-run Croydon’s lead and halving the frequency of bin collections. The Tory local government secretary said the guidance – issued to all local authorities – exposed the “false claims” made by councils to justify scaling back services. He must have had Croydon in mind, where there is a widespread view that reduced refuse collection has led to greater costs being incurred clearing up litter-strewn streets and increasing amounts of fly tipping.

Pickles has even claimed that having bins emptied once a week was a “fundamental right”.

Eric Pickles: after four years in charge, has decided to move on weekly bin collections

Eric Pickles: after four years in charge, has decided to move on weekly bin collections

Croydon is one of more than 60 councils which have switched to fortnightly bin collections since the ConDem government came to power in 2010 – amounting to 18.5 million affected households across the country.

According to a report in yesterday’s Sunday Torygraph, Pickles has decided to force councils to change their policy by making it a legal requirement to collect people’s bins every week.

“One option being considered by the Conservatives is the introduction of a minimum service standard, which would reinstate the previous legal requirement for councils to collect rubbish weekly,” Pickles told the newspaper.

If the new standard is imposed, it is likely to cost Croydon Council more than the estimated £1 million annual grant that was previously on offer from Pickles’s Communities and Local Government Department. But the Labour council is certain to try to take the political credit for the improved service, and for delivering the cleaner streets that could be a consequence.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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4 Responses to Pickles to order Croydon to return to weekly collections

  1. davidcallam says:

    So much for all that party-political drivel about localism. Free to do as you please, as long as central government doesn’t get the blame.

    In this case, I think Big Eric is correct, providing he puts enough tax-payers’ money where his mouth is.

  2. Whilst I’m all for recycling, a fortnightly bin collection simply doesn’t work here. It only takes 5% of people not to care and the whole area looks like a dump. I walk past bins which are full 2-3 days after they’ve been emptied. I’d bet a good proportion of the rest of waste generated is simply dumped on our streets. While it might cost an extra £1m-£2m it would reduce fly tipping enormously.

    Having moved from and edgy part of Waltham Forest where there were weekly bin collections and free bulky item pick ups I can tell you there’s a heck on a difference in the state of the streets.

    • Croydon Tories promised to make recycling compulsory, but never did. Mrs Towcrate and I recycle as much as we can, and consequently our landfill/incinerator fuel bin tends to have very little in it – a fortnightly collection suits us just fine.

      I’d be concerned by the increased financial and environmental costs posed by a return to weekly collections, which would represent a subsidy on the lazy, uncaring slobs who’ve made our town a dump.

  3. surrey21 says:

    The grant offered to freeze Council Tax shouldn’t be looked on as “free money”. It had serious strings attached that would have eroded Croydon’s financial position year on year.

    I very much doubt Eric Pickles will provide additional funding to re-instate weekly bin collections for the 60 councils who have gone down that path, else it would be unfair on those who chose not to.

    So, reinstating this service will mean money has to be taken from other Croydon services (e.g. children’s and adult social care, homelessness, preventative services and new taps for BWH).

    Still, politics is about choices, and if this is a manifesto commitment for Croydon’s new administration it’s right that Labour follow it through.

    It’s just a shame that not all of Croydon’s residents could make bi-weekly collection work, as households taking responsibility to reduce their waste is a win-win situation for both the environment and the wallet, and there ain’t many of them around.

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