8:00am Tuesday 7th February 2012
A £250M scheme to encourage councils to bring back weekly bin collections has been deemed a load of rubbish by Swindon Council.
Fortnightly collections were introduced in the borough in 2007, along with separate recycling pick-ups which saw the town’s recycling efforts increase from 14 per cent to more than 50 per cent in four years.
But despite towns up and down the country jumping on the recycling bandwagon, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has launched a scheme to reverse the move towards fortnightly rubbish collections.
As part of that scheme, local authorities will be able to apply for money to support weekly collections, as well as for mechanisms that reward residents with vouchers for recycling rubbish.
Coun Nick Martin (Con, Shaw and Nine Elms), cabinet member for Streetsmart and Parks, said Swindon Council would not be taking up on his offer.
He said: “The public here in Swindon have done extremely well with their recycling and we have broken the 50 per cent barrier for recycling. I am extremely keen to further improve our recycling rates and we are looking at areas in the town that aren’t recycling as much as others to see where we can improve.
“To go back to weekly collections would just undermine our efforts so far. It is very nice of Mr Pickles to offer, but the money wouldn’t actually be enough to fund a second set of collections and we would have to make additional contributions.
“And with the increase of waste going to landfill, we would have to increase the council tax as it costs £56 for every ton of extra landfill produced and this increases by about £8 every year.
“The days of putting out really heavy wheelie bins have gone and many people are in fact putting out half-empty wheelie bins and recycling the majority of their waste.”
More than half of councils in England now have systems in place in which refuse is collected only once a fortnight, although many pick up recycling or food waste once a week.
Mr Pickles has said he believes weekly collections are a basic right, and has already taken steps to encourage councils to bring them back – including scrapping Audit Commission guidance telling councils to introduce fortnightly collections.
Announcing details of the £250m fund, Mr Pickles said: “Rubbish collections are the most visible service that people get for their £120 per month council tax. Labour’s barmy bin rules made putting out rubbish more complicated than solving a Rubik’s cube.
“The public are fed up. They just want a simple service, which is why government is making sure councils can offer a good weekly collection and make it easier to go green.”
The Government claims more than 70 councils have signalled their interest in applying for funding.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group