Flawed consultation on green waste bins

Cllr Lucy Wakeley says Barnet’s Labour administration failed to properly advertise a consultation on a big increase in charges

Hendon Town Hall
Hendon Town Hall

Labour-run Barnet council is proposing a 38.5% increase in the cost of green waste bins. As part of this process, the council is ran a consultation which ended yesterday (15th March), having been launched just four weeks before. 

Despite having the contact details for all those who use the service, the council decided not to send it directly to them.

As the council had done little to advertise the consultation, I sent it out to my networks, including to local community Facebook groups in Edgware. I got feedback from residents who currently pay the green waste charge and asked why they had not been informed of the consultation. One comment, in particular, prompted me to raise a question at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday 12th March 2024:

‘Thank you for posting this! As a user of the service, why have I not seen this proposal and survey before? who else hasn’t seen it especially as deadline is so close!’

I questioned Cllr Schneiderman, the cabinet member for environment and climate change, about the consultation that is asking for resident’s views on the proposed increase. 

I requested, that Cllr Schneiderman extend the consultation and send it to all those who use the service. 

We know he has email addresses for most of those who use the service. The council writes to them regularly so this would be an easy thing to do. 

Unfortunately, despite Cllr Schneiderman answering that he felt it was ‘a good suggestion,’ he still refused to do so. 

In the cabinet papers, the council ironically stated: “Resident feedback is invaluable in influencing the administration’s decision-making process.” It is therefore difficult to believe that neither the cabinet member nor council officers thought to send it to the users of the service when they were launching the consultation. Could they have deliberately decided not to send it to them as they know how strongly residents would feel about such a drastic increase? One would hope not. 

I have since written to Cllr Schneiderman and council leader Barry Rawlings to request again that they extend this consultation and ensure that all those who use the service are contacted. At the time of writing, I am yet to receive a response. 

I would encourage all residents in Barnet who oppose the proposed increase to share their views with the cabinet member via email at [email protected] and to write to their ward councillors to share their views.

A consultation should look to hear the views of everyone especially those directly affected.

Lucy Wakeley is a Conservative councillor for Edgware ward.

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