Greens declare Labour’s contract with the city ‘broken’ on refuse and recycling

15 January 2019

  • Missed collections soar
  • Overflowing bins throughout Christmas and New Year
  • Recycling burned at incinerator
  • Failing waste deal costing £1bn

Recent images (attached) show rubbish and recycling sitting uncollected during the festive period despite recent claims from Labour Councillors that they are overseeing improvements.

A pledge by the Labour Council to improve the city’s refuse and recycling service has been declared as ‘broken’ by the Greens, with overflowing bins continuing to blight the city into the new year.

Drawn up in 2015, Labour’s ‘contract with Brighton and Hove’ (attached) states: “We will make collecting refuse, increasing recycling and cleaning the streets a top council priority. The Leader and senior councillors will directly oversee work to improve the service.”

However Greens say that overflowing bins and disruptions to the service over Christmas, a rise in missed collections and constant complaints about refuse collection have exposed the ‘complete failure’ of the Labour leadership to fulfill their pledges on Cityclean.

Many residents started the New Year with no recycling facilities due to overflowing bins, and official figures show that the number of missed refuse and recycling collections in the city continues to increase. Greens say residents now have so little confidence in the service that they no longer see the point in reporting missed collections through official channels.

Greens have also slammed the Labour Council for failing to take action on the 25-year, £1bn waste-processing contract with private company Veolia, after reports this week revealed that the company have instructed operatives to burn some recyclable rubbish at an incinerator. Following the revelations, Greens have repeated their call for the Labour Council to renegotiate the Veolia contract which they say is not ‘fit for purpose.’

Cllr Leo Littman, spokesperson for Environment, Transport and Sustainability, commented:

“Clearly, the ruinous austerity policies pursued by Coalition and Tory Governments over the past eight years have degraded local council services. However, Brighton and Hove’s Labour Council decided to cut nearly half a million pounds from the Cityclean budget. As far back as 2015, they were warned about the effect this would have. Not only did they ignore these warnings back then, but they are still cutting Cityclean year on year.

“The results of their failure are there for everyone to see. Instead of their so-called pledge to ‘oversee the service’, – which has mysteriously disappeared from their party website – they have shown no leadership and led residents to conclude there is no consistent refuse and recycling collection service in Brighton and Hove.”

Responding to recent reports that Cityclean crews are being told to put recycling into bins for incineration, Cllr Littman added:

“The latest reports about burned recycling are sadly not the first. Sixteen months after being informed of similar allegations, the Labour administration are still paralysed with indecision about how to ensure that our recycling is actually being recycled, rather than burned. Residents deserve to be assured that their recycling efforts are not going up in smoke.”

Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty, Convenor of the Green Group, commented:

“I know that residents in my own ward and across the city have grown tired of waiting for so-called ‘improvements.’ Many of the city’s residents began the New Year with overflowing bins as rubbish went uncollected over Christmas. It is hardly surprising then that so many residents no longer see the point in complaining, so low are their expectations. If they do try to complain online, they will find that the Twitter account for Cityclean has been suspended – which seems symbolic of a council service with absent political leadership.

“Labour has blocked Green suggestions for improvements such as introducing food waste, increasing the types of recycling collected, or renegotiating the restrictive, £1bn, 25-year waste deal with Veolia. Earlier this week, shocking reports revealed that much of our recycling is being sent by Veolia to the incinerator, a reminder that this contract is hardly fit for purpose.

“Labour’s manifesto commitment is broken. The next step is clear: at the council elections on May 2nd it’s time to bin Labour.”







[2] A petition on missed collections came to a meeting of Full Council in 2018:


[3] Corporate Performance Indicators: Missed recycling and refuse collection$


[4] Improvements promised as part of the ‘Modernisation’ programme:


To top