Bin collections and politics are strangely linked in the East London Waste Authority (ELWA). ELWA is a four borough group.1 The bin and ‘paid-for’ green waste collection is faultless but that’s where excellence ends.
Recycling is organised as a weekly orange sack and bin collection. There are also bottle banks, to which you have to travel and Gerpins Lane for bigger items. ELWA’s recycling statistics are ghastly with them coming 327th out of of 341 local authorities.2 This seemed unbelievable so I researched it. Havering is cemented into ELWA with three albatrosses.
Havering accounts for 52.2% of ELWA’s total.3
ELWA’s financial officers produced a huge, impenetrable document for the councillors. The officers engineered a short-term ‘solution’ to meet the challenges that the local authorities are under. Unfortunately it’s very expensive. “This report proposes a decrease of 29.52% in the 2021/22 levy, which is significantly lower than the 4.59% forecast increase reported in February 2020.”4 That’s a 34.11% decrease on the budgeted levy. “The consequence of the one-off significant decrease in 2021/22 is an increase in the following year of 51.72%. These movements equate to an increase over the two-year period from 2020/21 to 2022/23 of 6.93%.”4 Reducing budget pressure looks like a great idea but, “this could provoke a referendum on Council Tax…”5 A referendum would be politically embarrassing and hugely expensive.
Needless to relate they ignored this severe warning and agreed to the 29.52% decrease. ELWA is a political organisation run by councillors who don’t know what they’re doing.6
1 Havering with Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Redbridge. Osman Dervish and Robert Benham are Havering’s nominees.
2 2019/20 overall performance – letsrecycle.com ELWA comes 327th out of 341
4 ibid p100
5 ibid p110
6 Despite the well flagged challenges councillors agreed this action Authority-Agenda-Pack-25.06.21-FINAL-open.pdf (eastlondonwaste.gov.uk) Minutes pp9-10