Both local LibDem MPs have been making mischief in their attempt to divert attention from their Councillor colleagues almighty blunder in introducing the unpopular £35 green garden waste charge.

In correspondence from Carshalton & Wallington MP Tom Brake and a newsletter from Sutton & Cheam MP Paul Burstow, they strongly suggest that the unjustified extra cost was implemented with cross-party support. Neither expressed an opinion as to where they stood on the issue. (I wonder if either have bought a bag themselves.)

In fact, two of my colleagues, John Kennedy and Graham Whitham predicted much of what has transpired when expressing their opposition to the way that green garden waste has been handled. We are fully supportive of the aim of the overall scheme which is to minimise the amount of waste that goes to landfill. The Council will face punitive fines if action is not taken which could make recent Council Tax increases look paltry in comparison. So, we do need to take action now. Stopping the collection of black bags sitting alongside the wheelie bins is an inconvenience that we have to accept.

Garden waste doesn’t go to landfill. Encouraging people to compost more at home is an excellent idea but is not a panacea. A bin full of grass clippings will become very smelly and sludge-filled. There is a knack to effective composting that most people (including me) will not be fully aware of. The £35 per bag charge seemed to appear from nowhere rather than as a result of detailed modelling and research. The communication of the changes has been woefully inadequate. The charge is supposed to cover the new kerbside glass collection. However with only 3000 bags sold at the last count, there will be a big hole in the figures. This will be exacerbated by the need to open a new facility at Beddington Lane for residents to take their own garden waste. This is costing the Council about £5000 per week. We have called for the scheme to be halted whilst the Council go back to the drawing board and consult residents.