Blow for weekly rubbish collections in 2013
The prospect of councils restoring weekly rubbish collections in 2013 looks slim as new research shows fortnightly bin rounds has boosted recycling levels.
Most of the ten councils which had the biggest increases in recycling rates last year, according to data from the Environment Department (Defra), have brought in fortnightly refuse collections and food waste recycling in the past two years.
The analysis will come as a blow to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who last year launched a £250 million fund to persuade local authorities to restore weekly collections.
However, as the Western Daily Press has reported, most councils in the West have snubbed Mr Pickles.
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Of the ten councils across the UK with the largest increase in recycling, only the London Borough of Newham, which had the second best increase, has weekly bin collections and no food waste pick-ups.
However it increased its recycling from a low base, raising levels from just under 15 per cent to almost 23 per cent over the past year.
Responding to the analysis on behalf of the Government, Communities Minister Brandon Lewis argued weekly collections and better recycling rates could still go hand-in-hand.
He said: “Research shows that residents overwhelmingly prefer a regular and frequent rubbish collection, but under the previous administration the numbers of weekly services across the country halved while council tax doubled.
“Cutting the frequency of collections is a lazy and unnecessary move. It is possible to increase recycling and still have a comprehensive weekly service through better procurement, more joint working and using incentive schemes.”
The combination of fortnightly rubbish rounds and separate food waste collections proved a success for Cheltenham Borough Council, which boosted recycling rates by a third from under 35 per cent of waste to 46 per cent in a year.
Councillor Roger Whyborn, cabinet member for sustainability, said: “The increase in recycling is undoubtedly because from April 2011 we made several changes to waste collection across the borough.”
Not everyone is happy with fortnightly collections though.
Residents of inner-city Bordesley Green in Birmingham are having to put up with 10ft high piles of rubbish as their waste has not been collected since December 19.
Fortnightly collections in areas with a high population density have proved particularly unpopular, with some saying it will encourage rats.