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London council drops doorstep recycling collections on estates

Hackney will be the first London council to abandon door-to-door recycling collections on some estates following recommendations from the London Fire Brigade (LFB).

Door-to-door collections for high-rise buildings have been ruled out when the LFB raised concerns that recyclable materials left in corridors could affect escape routes and posed a fire risk. Hackney Council said had these fire risks were verified by independent fire safety consultants.

An LFB spokesman said: The Brigade gave advice to all London councils in July 2007 on doorstep recycling schemes from flats that rely on single internal staircases, internal corridors or escape in one direction only as part of the means of escape.

LFB officers found that in some cases these schemes result in significant risk to residents as a fire involving the recyclable materials placed in the escape route would render the escape route unusable. Such a fire also poses the possibility of fire spreading to the flats themselves.

However, Green Party councillor Mischa Borris said that many residents would be annoyed: They have been encouraged to recycle, but now the door-to-door collection service is being withdrawn. They feel they are getting an inferior service from the council than residents who live in street dwellings.

She said that she would take up the matter with Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe to continue the service to all those estate homes which are suitable.

According to the council, local authorities across London are in the process of stopping collections from high-rise building. It is now improving the collection of recycling banks on estates and introducing cardboard recycling.

Cabinet member for neighbourhoods councillor Alan Laing said: Its unfortunate that we need to change our service and stop door-to-door collections on high-rise blocks. However, we are rolling out green box and food collections where we can for street-level homes.

Image: Hackney green box contents

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