Liberal Democrats expressed satisfaction and delight last night as Labour-run Haringey Council conducted an astonishing u-turn. The Council bowed to the party’s long-running campaign to scrap controversial charges for the collection of bulky rubbish, such as old fridges and freezers. The move came in an announcement last night at the Muswell Hill area assembly and follows a long campaign by local Lib Dem councillors on the issue.

The Council has announced that from April it will begin a scheme for the removal, free of charge, of items such as fridges from people’s homes. Until now, Labour has consistently refused to change its policy of a £15 charge on the issue, despite Lib Dem petitions signed by local residents and presented to the Council. The Lib Dems also made the issue a key feature of the three by-election campaigns in Stroud Green, Muswell Hill and Fortis Greenlast year (see photo)all won by the party with landslide victories over Labour.

Lib Dems have maintained that because of the present charges, large items such as old fridges and other large waste litter the borough’s streets. Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesperson Lynne Featherstone – who spear-headed the campaign – has labelled the policy a false economy, as it results in the unscrupulous dumping of these large items – with Haringey having to foot the bill anyway as they have to clear up the mess. The Labour-run council has admitted to Lib Dem councillors that demand for collections of bulky rubbish has declined by almost three quarters since the introduction of the unpopular charges.

Lynne Featherstone comments:

“I am absolutely delighted at this climb-down by the Council.Haringey has finally admitted that the policy of charging has not worked and has led to much more dumping in the borough.

“We will be looking at the details of the reintroduced scheme, but it is certainly victory for the Liberal Democrats and local people who have supported the campaign. I am delighted that the Council has finally admitted the failure of its policy.”