Given the recent coverage about waste collection, I welcome the announcement this week by the Council that in Barnet we will not be introducing fortnightly refuse collection.
Unlike some members of the Labour Government, I do not believe there should be a nationally imposed policy of waste collection being cut back from weekly to fortnightly. Though I can understand why some local authorities may wish to introduce refuse collection fortnightly, to encourage greater levels of recycling, I do not believe this is needed in Barnet at present.
As a result of the excellent management of the refuse service by Cllr Matthew Offord, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, who has made recycling compulsory, the service is cost-effective, while at the same time leading to higher levels of recycling. As a result last year and thanks to the conscientious residents of Barnet, 30% of waste in the borough was recycled.
The continued growth in recycling by Barnet residents - so that by 2010 it is likely that 40% of waste will be recycled - means that in Barnet fortnightly waste collection is not required to increase levels of recycling.
I therefore agree with the Leader of the Council Cllr Mike Freer, who has said that it is vital that high achieving councils continue to innovate as we have done in Barnet. This is better than follow the unpopular trends as many councils seem to do.