Following pressure from the Labour Group, who have been campaigning to Clean Up Tower Hamlets, the Mayor has agreed to utilise Blackwall Depot for waste after the closure of the Watts Grove Depot. The Mayor withdrew the first Cabinet paper after Labour criticism that it did not include a local depot.
On 21st January, Labour councillors, backed by local MPs Jim Fitzpatrick and Rushanara Ali, passed an emergency motion for Tower Hamlets Council meeting, calling on Mayor Lutfur Rahman to rethink his waste management procurement process to prevent a waste crisis in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
There are extensive problems with waste management, with local residents regularly raising concerns about dirty streets, missed rubbish collections and fly tipping hotspots. This was exacerbated by the Mayor bringing in charges for bulk rubbish collection in June 2012.
Officers have planned a solution for Blackwall Depot – focussed on installation of a spine road to provide a one way system through the site, the addition of lighting and installation of portacabins. The site already has planning permission allowing the majority of the work
Passenger service vehicles will be in part transferred to Toby Lane depot and the remainder of the fleet will remain co-located at Blackwall Depot.
Cllr Rachael Saunders, Leader of Tower Hamlets Labour, said:
“The Labour Group has been campaigning on the issue of waste management in Tower Hamlets and we’re glad that, as a direct result of our efforts, there will be a local depot. This will prevent severely congested roads as a result of rubbish being taken out of the borough.
Time and time again, residents talk to us about rubbish in their area, on their streets and the lack of response from Mayor Lutfur Rahman. The plans for Blackwall Depot are only a temporary solution, we will keep campaigning for proper local provision of waste services and work to get the very best deal for residents.
Further, we will ensure that all options for waste management are thoroughly considered and openly discussed in public – including investigating the option of bringing waste services in house. ”