Revealed: Labour H&F councillor DID authorise proposal to scrap weekly bin collections

lbhfbinLast November the Labour-run Hammersmith and Fulham Council retreated from a proposal to scrap weekly bin collections. The proposal was abandoned after a campaign led by Cllr Charlie Dewhirst mobilised strong opposition from local residents.

Well we all make mistakes. The difficulty remains that Labour didn’t have the honesty to admit. They sought to claim the Council consultation was nothing to do with them. Instead of having the courage of apologise they dived for cover and blamed the bureaucrats – who had simply acted professionally in carrying out he orders of their political masters.

So I asked the Council:

Cllr Harcourt authorised the consultation.

Cllr Harcourt authorised the consultation.

“Whether any Cabinet Member approved the decision to hold the consultation and if so who and also whether or not the wording of the consultation was approved by any Cabinet Member and if so who.”

For a long time they refused to answer. There followed a series of email exchanges who I won’t bother you with but which fans of Yes Minister might find amusing.

Then this morning James Filus, the H&F In Touch  Manager, told me:

Cowan: What did he know and when did he know it?

Cowan: What did he know and when did he know it?

“I am informed that the consultation was drafted by officers within the Waste service.  Following a discussion with Councillor Harcourt, the Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport & Residents Services…”

So the implausible suggestion that council staff did the whole thing without political authority is proven to be false. If there was never any possibility of scrapping the weekly bin collections then why consult on the proposal.

Also is it really plausible that Cllr Harcourt kept the council leader Cllr Stephen Cowan and the rest of the Cabinet out of the loop? It is hardly a trivial proposal.

Either Cllr Cowan knew what was happening and authorised. Or as council leader he really has no idea what policies the council is consulting on. Neither explanation inspires confidence.

 

Cllr Greg Smith: Labour council threatens to end weekly bin collections in H&F

gregsmithCllr Greg Smith, the Leader of the Conservative Group on Hammersmith and Fulham Council, writes

Weekly bin collections are under threat in Hammersmith and Fulham after the Labour-run council launched a consultation into reducing refuse collections and street cleaning.

The consultation has been quietly uploaded onto the council’s website but no additional effort has been made to increase awareness of the plans among local residents. The council’s own papers relating to the consultation state: “It is evident that with the financial reductions that are due over the next few years, there will be a further challenge to maintain services.”

The local Conservatives are extremely concerned that the council has already made up its mind and will push ahead with plans to reduce bin collections and street cleaning in an attempt to save money.

Residents are already angry about the decline in street cleanliness in H&F – fly-tipping is rife and many roads are extremely untidy. Now we find out that the council is consulting on removing weekly bins collections in one of the most densely populated parts of London. The consequences would be dire with piles of stinking rubbish attracting rats, foxes and disease.

It is a core function of a council to collect rubbish and clean the streets and they should be looking to improve the service, not reduce it. The Conservatives will stand up for local residents and fight these plans every step of the way. I urge everyone to sign our online petition so we can demonstrate the strength of feeling to the local Labour council.