‘Containers will ruin conservation areas,’ say wheelie bin campaigners

Pam White, left, and Averil Nottage

Pictured: Left, Pam White of The Primrose Hill conservation area advisory committee, and (right) Belsize Residents Association chairwoman, Averil Nottage

Published: 19 April, 2012

WHEELIE bins could be introduced across the borough to help drive up recycling, according to a recommendation in a new Town Hall report.

Council officers for the Culture and Environment Committee say that Camden is falling behind its recycling targets.

Government quotas call for 50 per cent of all waste to be recycled by 2020, but the borough is now lagging behind at a rate of 32 per cent.

The report reveals that a year after introducing a new system of having door-to-door collections for all recyclable materials – including food and garden waste – the tonnage of rubbish being recycled has not yet risen.

But civic groups across the borough are concerned about the use of the large, bulky wheelie bins.

There are fears that the bins will ruin the look of conservation areas and will not deal with the root cause of the problem.

Belsize Residents Association chairwoman Averil Nottage said that while there were problems with recycling, wheelie bins were not the answer.

She said: “We would be concerned about the impact of wheelie bins in Belsize. We fought long and hard to get rid of estate agent boards and this would be equally damaging to the character of the area.

“But it also would not be practical because of the variety of properties. This is a situation where one size does not fit all.

“A campaign to encourage recycling combined with alternative options for storing it would be a far better way forward.”

Pam White of The Primrose Hill conservation area advisory committee said that while she wanted to see the council increase the levels of recycling, wheelie bins would not help.

Ms White said: “This is a totally unsuitable idea for our conservation area, where many houses are divided into flats, most do not have front gardens, most do not have outside fronting onto the street space to store these bins, and many residents would be disenfranchised from recycling or refuse collection.”

These views have been echoed in Highgate, where across the border in Haringey the introduction of wheelie bins has been heavily criticised.

The Highgate Society’s chairwoman Catherine Budgett-Meakin said: “I’d suggest the Council reminds people about recycling – I regularly see stuff outside going as rubbish when it could be recycled. That would be an important first step before even suggesting supplying large and inappropriate wheelie bins. The Society, along with the Highgate community, would resist any attempt to supply bins.  Many of the houses do not have appropriate front gardens and large bins would look unsightly and would attract the dumping of rubbish from passers by.”

A Council spokesman said that Camden faced challenging issues to get more waste out of landfills.

However, he claimed that Camden had higher recycling rates than Islington, Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark and Lambeth last year.

The spokesman added: “We are providing collection services for all the materials that we are able to recycle but the tonnage has not increased over the last year, despite having a new borough-wide food and garden waste service.”

The spokesman said the Council was reviewing collections that would see residents putting all recyclable goods into one big bin, but that no area had yet been chosen for wheelie bins.


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