A £250 million Government bid to bring back weekly bin collections will fail in the West, it emerged yesterday.
The initiative by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles was intended to persuade more councils to scrap fortnightly collections. But only five of the 85 local authorities that are getting cash will use it to switch to emptying the bins every week.
Others will spend their windfall on supporting their existing weekly collections, or boosting recycling. Mr Pickles also told councils they could get less money in future if they fail to restore weekly collections – a threat that was attacked by Keep Britain Tidy.
The only West council to cash in is Bath & North East Somerset, which has been allocated £2,185,082 to improve services to 73,993 households.
The money will be used for: “Supporting weekly residual waste and recycling collections, while rewarding environmental improvements in communities and increasing recycling levels.”
Earlier this year Mr Pickles boasted he would defeat the ‘Town Hall Taliban’ that deprived people of weekly waste pick-ups, saying: “There is no excuse now. Weekly bins are making a comeback.”
Mr Pickles said: “Over six million families will breathe a sigh of relief tonight because we have put a stop to the fetid fortnightly rot and saved many weekly collections from extinction. Weekly bin collections are one of the most visible frontline services and there is no plausible reason why councils shouldn’t deliver them to hard-working residents. We will be looking closely at the central Government funding for bin collections. Councils receive £28billion in formula grant funding – it’s not unreasonable that they provide a decent bin service in return.”
The Local Government Association, representing town halls, said 58 per cent of councils offered a weekly refuse collection service to at least some households. Environment Board chairman Councillor Mike Jones said: “What matters most to people is that their waste is collected in a reliable, efficient way which allows them to recycle easily. This can be achieved in different ways, depending on local circumstances. For some homes, alternate weekly collections would not be suitable. But many who do have their non-recyclable waste collected fortnightly are happy with that arrangement.”
Keep Britain Tidy branded Mr Pickles’ warning to councils to restore weekly bin collections as rubbish as it would lead to falling recycling rates in many areas. Tim Burns, who heads the charity’s Waste Watch programme, said taxpayers’ money would be better spent on helping councils introduce weekly collections of food waste for recycling.
“Paying councils to reintroduce weekly bin collections is a waste of money and a missed opportunity for a more resourceful society that benefits both the environment and communities through benefits to the economy.”