Lambeth Council’s opposition leader has called for an “urgent” investigation into the borough’s recycling rates.

This comes after Lambeth Council recycled 30 per cent of the borough’s household waste in 2017/18, short of the council’s recycling, reusing and composting target of 50 per cent.

However this was an increase on 28.8 per cent from 2016/17.

Cllr Jonathan Bartley said the council needed to end charges for garden waste collections, introduce food waste collection on estates and improve the availability of information about recycling.

“As the urgency about the action needed on climate change has grown, and awareness about the need to tackle the plastics crisis has grown Labour-led Lambeth Council has shown staggering complacency when it comes to recycling,” he said.

“It has been missing its own targets for over six years but it hasn’t even looked into why its recycling rate is so poor, let alone updated its waste strategy over this period.

“It should urgently investigate the reasons why its rates are so low.

“And in the meantime it should begin to cover the very basics such as scrapping charges for garden waste collections, introducing food waste collections on estates,  giving recycling options for its street bins and improving information for households about what can and can’t be recycled,” he explained.

But Lambeth Council is committed to increasing recycling rates, cabinet member for environment and clean air, Cllr Claire Holland, said.

“We are committed to working in partnership with our waste contractor Veolia to improve the waste services offered to residents in the borough and to increase the amount that is recycled,” she said.

The council replaced clear recycling sacks with green wheelie bins which pushed recycling rates up to 31.4 per cent in April 2018, she said.

Other initiatives included trailing ways to increase recycling from those who live in flats.

 “Lambeth Council and Veolia have worked with Resource London, a support programme for London’s waste authorities, on several projects over the past year. This includes a food waste participation trial that delivered interventions to residents on over 150 streets to encourage them to increase the amount of food waste they recycle.

“We were also one of the boroughs selected to work with Peabody housing association and Resource London on their two-year project exploring barriers to recycling in purpose-built flats.

“Additionally, this year we have started the second wave of our trials to increase recycling from residents living in flats above shops by introducing on-street storage facilities,” she said.

Registration for 12 months garden waste collection service from Lambeth Council costs £61.50.

Lambeth Council's recycling target for 2012/13 was 45 per cent raising one per cent per year until 2017/18, but 22.76 per cent of all refuse was recycled in 2012/13.

In 2013/14 the recycling rate dropped to 21.14 per cent, then rose again to 28.30 per cent in 2014/15, 28.70 per cent in 2015/16, 28.80 per cent in 2016/17 and 30 per cent in 2017/18.