Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami is calling on North Herts Council to abandon its plans to reduce waste collections in the district. 

The council announced last month it would reduce collections for general waste from a fortnightly rota to every three weeks. The change is set to come into place in 2025, when its current contract with Urbaser ends.

Hitchin’s MP Bim Afolami has written to council leader Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg to share the concerns he has received from residents and ask the Council to reconsider their decision.

North Herts Council expects to save around £270,000 per year from these changes. Council leader Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg has said the council "is not immune from the current cost of living crisis."

Mr Afolami said:"Residents are rightly concerned about Labour and the Liberal Democrats’ plan to slash general waste bin collections down to just once every three weeks in North Hertfordshire.

"Bin collections are a vital service that residents pay for through their council tax.

"These three weekly collections would leave residents in Hitchin and the villages with the worst bin collection rota in the East of England. This means we could see increases in fly-tipping, litter lining the streets of North Hertfordshire, residents using footpaths having to dodge rubbish bags which don’t fit in overflowing bins, and an increase in rats and other public health problems in our towns and villages.

"It is vital that we avoid this blight on our area and have bin collections which will enable us to keep North Hertfordshire as somewhere residents can be proud to live. I am calling on Labour and the Liberal Democrats to reverse these planned cuts."

Council leader Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg has hit back, stating that a number of other councils have already "successfully implemented three-weekly waste collections".

Cllr Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, Leader of North Herts Council, said: "We are trying our best to provide a sustainable service with the resources we have.

"It might be helpful to remind our residents that North Herts Council retains a mere 12p in every £1 from what we collect in council tax.

"We are not exempt from the current cost of living crisis which adds to the council’s costs continuing to rise while our funding fails to keep track, and having to face the real prospect of government funding cuts.

"There are a number of councils who have already successfully implemented three-weekly waste collections, and more are considering them as a way to reduce carbon emissions and save money in the current climate.

"We understand it may be daunting to wait longer between collections but evidence shows that three-weekly waste collections do not lead to an increase in fly-tipping, litter or rats, but rather deliver an increase in the amount of waste that is recycled.

"Research demonstrates the majority of waste that people put in their general waste bin could have been recycled, and residents can already recycle the vast majority of items in our current scheme, and even more with the inclusion of soft plastic from 2025.

"What would be helpful is if government would provide some certainty over council funding and release its final position under the Recycling and Waste Strategy.

"This will undoubtedly impact on our local decision-making and will enable us to start behaviour change campaigns in order to ensure the strategy’s success. If government is serious about the environment it needs to support local authorities in our work to encourage residents to dispose of waste responsibly, and more importantly reduce their waste in the first place."