Claims that Croydon Council's much-vaunted Smarter Croydon scheme, to make the borough cleaner and greener, could run into trouble, have been dismissed by town hall leaders.

Tory Councillor Andrew Pelling had warned that the borough's environmental clean-up, backed this year by Tony Blair, was failing parts of his ward in Monks Hill because money was running out.

He said: "There's no doubt good has come out of this scheme.

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"But money and resources for it will soon run out."

But Hugh Malyan, leader of the council said: "It's good to hear Councillor Pelling recognising the good work being done on the Smarter Croydon scheme but I don't know how he can criticise our spending on it. We need to spend the designated amount to achieve our targets.

"The Smarter Croydon scheme is an initiative over an 18-month period aiming to improve the borough. Frankly, I am surprised that even he can find fault with it."