Councillors in the London borough of Barnet approved proposals to keep the authority’s ‘street scene’ services including recycling and waste collections in-house at a meeting last week (11 May).
The council’s Environment Committee met last week to consider alternative methods for delivery of the street scene services work, with options on the table having included outsourcing the work or via the council’s own trading company – The Barnet Group.
Outsourcing of the work was ruled out a meeting in March, while last week councils opted for the service to continue to be run in-house.
However, councillors have opted to implement changes to the provision of the service over the next 12 to 18 months, with a view to improving the council’s recycling rate to beyond 50% and providing a ‘cost effective’ service for residents.
Commenting after the meeting last week, Jamie Blake, Barnet’s commissioning director for environment, said: “After looking at all available options we believe an improved in-house model provides the option.
“This option will allow us to make savings and improve our approach through new technology.”
In February 2016 a temporary management service team was brought in from The Barnet Group to oversee a ‘transformational change’ of Barnet’s street scene department, including measures to find a proposed £2.6 million of savings from waste costs and to work towards the 50% by 2020 recycling target (see letsrecycle.com story).
Alongside the decision to retain the in-house service, Barnet has also launched a consultation on new guidelines on the collection of waste in ‘time-banded’ slots on the borough’s High Streets. The changes would mean that residents and businesses would only be able to be place waste and recycling out for collection at restricted times.
The consultation is open to all Barnet residents, businesses and visitors until 14 June 2017.
Mr Blake, said: “We know how important our local environment is to our residents, and these proposals will help maintain the high standards they expect of our high streets.
“These regulations build on the existing work we have already been carrying out as part of the Keep Barnet Clean campaign including educating residents, enforcement action and investment in new mechanical street sweepers.”
Barnet was one of the first councils in England to introduce a compulsory recycling service, which was put in place March 2004, and helped to increase the borough’s recycling rate to around 29.97% by 2006.
Despite a target of 50% recycling by 2020, progress in Barnet has since been slow with an overall rate of 36.8% recorded for 2015/16.