‘U-turn’ row over rubbish collections

Ahead of May 5 poll, Labour says city’s new system is a cut by ‘stealth’

Friday, 29th April — By Tom Foot

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WESTMINSTER’s flagship twice-weekly rubbish collection is being disbanded in favour of a new once a week system combined with more food waste collection.

City council chiefs say the switch – which will see Saturday black bin bag collections stopped – will not lead to a reduction in overall waste collection.

Opposition councillors say the change is a u-turn and a cut by “stealth” in a row that erupted last night (Thursday) with just days to go until the May 5 council elections.

Rubbish collections are run by the council’s lead contractor Veolia, which is facing a massive backlash over its decision to continue operations in Russia despite the invasion of Ukraine.

The city council has already begun introducing changes to the rubbish collections across Westminster.

The borough’s residents have been told in a council bulletin: “You will no longer have two rubbish collections per week.

“As around 30 per cent of your rubbish is food waste, this means you’ll have less rubbish to throw away”.

In 2018 Westminster Conservatives’ manifesto pledge was to “maintain at least twice-weekly rubbish collections” for all residents.

Max Sullivan, a Labour Party candidate for Bayswater ward, said “Having already wasted £6.6million on Marble Arch Mound, Westminster Conservatives have now broken their manifesto promise of keeping twice-weekly rubbish collections.”

The roll-out of food waste collections began in Westminster on a ward-by-ward basis in March.

The city council’s director of environment and city management Raj Mistry said: “There is absolutely no reduction in waste collection.

“Residents continue to receive the same number of waste collections per week.

“One of the two existing weekly rubbish collections is substituted for a new food waste collection in areas where food recycling has been introduced.

“Households have the option to request a second weekly rubbish collection, as well as the new food waste collection.

“So far only one per cent of households have asked for two rubbish collections to be retained in areas where food waste collections have been introduced, and resident feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Mr Mistry added that he knew recycling was important to residents.

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