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Flytipping and Waste Management

Posted by Joan Ryan, MP for Enfield North, at 11:32, Tue 3 June 2008:

Dear Resident,

Just last month I had some visitors from Cyprus come to see me to find out what it was like to be an MP and they asked me to give them a quick tour of my Enfield North constituency.

I don’t mind telling you that as I was showing them around, there were times when I was really proud of our area and the way local residents and local community groups were working together to make our neighbourhood better. I took them to Chase Farm hospital and explained how local people had helped me to save the hospital from closure and helped keep the accident and emergency facilities. I showed them our new school, the Oasis Academy at Enfield Lock and Forty Hall, which we saved closure. And they were really impressed with the area.

However when we drove through parts of Enfield I was quite ashamed at what we saw - piles of rubbish dumped by the roadside, rubbish sacks spilling out on the footpath, fast food containers thrown into people’s front gardens and the occasional front garden that resembled a dumping ground for car spares.

I explained that since the closure of Carterhatch Lane recycling site there had been more instances of what we call ‘fly-tipping’. But between you and me even the closure of Carterhatch Lane recycling centre was no excuse for dumping rubbish and it reflects badly on all of us that these types of things happen.

When I got back to my office in Hertford Road I thought I’d find out just how bad the problem of fly-tipping actually was. I found out that there had been over 6,000 reported incidents in Enfield between April ‘06 and March ’07 that had cost the council more than £300,000 to clear up. And when I looked closer I was appalled to see that the council had only prosecuted 18 people.

The Police told me that areas like Highway and Southbury were worse than other parts of Enfield for fly-tipping with 489 reported incidents in the last three months of last year.

So why is the problem so bad? Well it’s not ‘rocket science’ - as they say - to connect the closure of Carterhatch Lane recycling centre to the increase in fly-tipping. Firstly for some residents it can now take 40 minutes to drive to Barrowell Green site - the only recycling centre left in the borough – that’s a round trip of an hour and twenty minutes.

In my view the council doesn’t do nearly enough to keep our streets tidy or to recycle our waste - and that is the real problem. I believe it should be the duty of the local council to lead the way by providing the sites for residents to take their waste and that doorstep recycling should include more items like cardboard, glass, tins and plastic.

Every week people complain to me about the mess that stray dogs, foxes and rats cause when they tear open the rubbish sacks. I remind them that the council could prevent all this if they gave us wheelie bins – and it would save us council tax payers at least £400,000 every year.

I believe we all have a responsibility to help build a stronger community where everyone does their bit. It has always been my mission to make Enfield a place we can all be proud of. I want the council to do more, I want us to do more and I want you to be my eyes and ears in the community, telling me when and where there is rubbish to be moved.

You see a lot of this can be blamed on our local council and I’m determined that they shouldn’t get away with it any longer. They closed down one of our only two recycling centres, refused to bring in wheelie bins, fail to prosecute fly-tippers and are not using the new powers the government has given them to insist that front gardens are kept tidy. Over the last 10 years the government has brought in new powers so that local authorities can force people to look after their front gardens and ensure business take responsibility for the mess caused by their produce. More and more powers are being given to councils and local Police teams to see that people are not affected by the negligence of others.

But a recent development changes all this. The North London boroughs, of which Enfield is one have come up with a proposal to create six new waste sites across north London to help each borough deal with its own rubbish rather than ship it off to be processed somewhere else.

However, we will face a decision as to how many sites are built in Enfield. One option would be to just deal with our own waste in Enfield and under the plans the Boroughs have put forward if we were to just take care of our own rubbish here in Enfield that would probably mean one or two of the six sites being built, and from looking at their plans they would be somewhere in Eastern Enfield.

Another option would be to send our waste elsewhere and pay for it to be shipped outside the borough. Whilst we have the largest incinerator in the UK in Edmonton, we still have waste that needs to be recycled or processed and to not have any of the 6 new sites in Enfield would probably mean paying more in council tax so our waste can be transported outside of the borough.

The third option would be to have more than just one or two of the sites in Enfield and for us to be paid for dealing with other boroughs rubbish. Whilst that means more refuse being processed, recycled or incinerated here in Enfield, it would mean the council has another source of income, which could lead to lower council tax.

Currently three of the six sites are being considered here in Enfield, I want to ensure your voice is heard. The proposals range from a new recycling centre, like the one we used to have at Carterhatch Lane, through to a hazardous waste management site that deals with substances such as asbestos. We have to decide how many sites there should be in Enfield and what kind of sites they should be. I have told North London Waste that I am carrying out this consultation and want to be sure that our views will be listened to. Archie Onslow from North London Waste has written back to me to say that if our views are submitted they will be included when the North London Waste consultation for Preferred Options ends in February 2009.

In the meantime I’d like to know your views on what more we should do to recycle our waste and whether wheelie bins with recycling compartments could be the answer and how much rubbish we should dispose of in our borough and how much we should send elsewhere for specialist waste disposal.

I really believe that we should attempt to deal with our waste here in Enfield. Shipping it off to be dealt with elsewhere is not a long term solution, but I feel that we shouldn’t be the only north London borough to do so. The last thing we want is to take everyone else’s waste. So it’s a really important decision that is being made and we have to make sure that our voice is heard. Working with Joanne McCartney our London Assembly member, we will do all we can to ensure that Enfield doesn’t end up taking all of North London’s waste.

As ever though, I can always do more with your support. We really need to put pressure on the council and by completing this questionnaire - which can be accessed at www.joanryan.net - I want to show them the real strength of feeling many residents have about the state of our streets.