|Garden Waste .. The Row Continues|
Tories claim thousands have been ignored but Labour say they have no choice
The Conservatives presented a petition last night signed by 5,140 residents asking the Labour administration to abandon its garden waste changes and are angry that Labour councillors all voted against the proposal to force the Cabinet to rethink.
Cllr David Millican, Conservative Group Leader said:
''The petition signed by 5,140 residents from all corners of the borough was the largest one ever presented to Council and included 1,178 residents who signed on-line, which was more than all the on-line petitions received to date by the Council.
''So incensed were residents at Labour’s decision to charge for a front-line service, which besides was working very effectively was already included in their council tax.
''Although Labour has back tracked on the green boxes and hair nets for plastic collection and forced wheelie bins for garden waste, it is still regrettable that the are not relenting on the £40 charge or the fortnightly collection. The money raised from the charge is tax and will do nothing to improve the service for residents or our recycling rate.
''By choosing to ignore the voice of so many residents, it clear that Labour is not on the side of residents and will most certainly need to be recycled at the next election.''
But Labour's Cabinet member for Environment & Transport, Bassam Mahfouz, said the garden changes are the lesser of many evils:
'' I appreciate the strength of feeling on this issue. I feel strongly too that this is not something we want to do, but given the unprecedented cuts facing all councils, we have been forced into looking at changes to refuse collection.
''The truth that was not shared with those signing the petition was that this is not a choice of doing this or doing nothing, it's a choice between doing this or going fortnightly collections on rubbish and recycling, switching off all of our street lights, closing all of our leisure centres or put up everyone's council tax as we now know the Tories would have done by 17%.
''Most people I've spoken to have understood the reason why we have had to make this difficult decision and that in returning to a system of charged-for garden waste collection, as occurs in Richmond & Kingston we are doing our best to minimise the impact by offering every household a choice of wheelie bin or hessian sacks, keeping the charge as low as possible (the lowest in West London) and offering a free alternative through our Civic Amenity sites as well as discounted compost bins.
''This decision will mean that we can maintain the weekly collection of rubbish, green box recycling and plastics recycling as is - no change. The Tories have to come clean and tell the people of Ealing whether they would force everyone to have fortnightly collection of rubbish and recycling from wheelie bins, switch off all of our street lights or put up everyone's council tax.''
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14th December 2011