A reduction in domestic waste collection in Lewisham has led to an increase in fly tipping and discarded waste, which is attracting vermin and foxes, claim residents.
in October, the council changed the protocol for bin collection, meaning that residential homes in the borough will now only have their rubbish collected fortnightly, as opposed to every week. Flats are exempt from this new system.
The new regime is designed to encourage residents to recycle more waste – the borough has one of the worst recycling records in the capital.
Angry residents say that rubbish is being left to stew for weeks before it is collected and that fly-tipping is increasing.
Syd Bolton, a 54 year-old lawyer living in Brockley, said: “The first issue is the noticeable proliferation of bins, and their compartmentalisation; you have around four bins per property. On London Street there isn’t usually enough room, so the bins end up blocking the pavement.
“It is an eyesore and a hazard. But it is the new fortnightly landfill bin collections that make up most of the problem. Most are overflowing, and living in an urban environment, it attracts foxes, mice and rats.
“Those working for the collection service seem to be up against the clock, with bins not put back in place, and waste bins thrown back on the pavement. It degrades the borough. It’s a real problem all round. ”
According to Lewisham Council website, the changes were introduced not only to encourage recycling but also to save money. They estimate that the reduced collection saves the council around £500,000 a year.
In 2016 Lewisham was ranked “the least recycling friendly borough” in London by rubbish collection company Envirowaste. Their statistics revealed that only around 17.1% of households in the borough recycle their waste.
Residents of Silwood Street in Deptford have been engaged for years in a battle with the council regarding the constant fly-tipping on their street.
Residents Wolf Dette, 33, an investment banker, and David da Silva Pereira, 36, a customer debt analyst, both claim that at a council meeting in January CCTV had been promised to help deter the criminals.
However CCTV it yet to be installed and the council now claims that this was never promised. They believe that, as with the cut in bin collections, it is to save money and is setting a dangerous precedent for more people to continue dumping rubbish.
Da Silva Pereira said: “One resident once confronted a woman unloading rubbish and asked her “what are you doing?” and she replied “everyone else is dumping rubbish so I thought I could do the same.
“It’s not that the council don’t know about it, it’s happening all the time. I think it’s about the cost, they don’t want to spend the money.
“I’ve complained about it, myself and other residents have all complained about it to the council. Apart from it not looking good, it’s not safe. I am worried one day kids, especially with a nursery school nearby, might try and pick something up.”
Both Dette and Da Silva Pereira have been to numerous forums and council meetings to raise the issue but they claim they have been held back by the bureaucratic system that has failed to identify a solution.
“It’s roadblock after roadblock with (the council). Lewisham Council don’t want to get involved. We are trying to protect our area. We want an environment for people to enjoy,” said Da Silva Pereira.
Lewisham Council were approached for comment but failed to respond by time of publication.