CIWM is seeking clarification from DCLG on guidance that had been dubbed the “Bin Bible” – a piece of guidance published by DCLG on Boxing Day that, according to reports, aims to destroy “the lazy left-wing myth that fortnightly bin collections are needed to save money or increase recycling”.
While the guidance has only been seen by a select few, it has been the subject of media coverage, including an interview with the Secretary of State Eric Pickles in The Telegraph.
The document has been withdrawn from the DCLG website, with a spokeswoman from the department claiming it was published in error.
Requests made by CIWM under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 to see the guidance document have so far gone unanswered.
“This is an entirely improper way for a Government department to communicate publicly on important local services,” says CIWM chief executive Steve Lee. “Quite aside from the inappropriate timing of the publication on a national holiday and the subsequent withdrawal with no official retraction, this latest development from DCLG gives us cause for concern.
Steve Lee, CIWM – “This is an entirely improper way for a Government department to communicate publicly on important local services”
“CIWM welcomes best practice in any area of waste and resource management. However, what we have seen so far with regard to this guidance repeats the provocative language used on a number of occasions by Mr Pickles’ office and is likely to reignite damaging media debate that pits one type of collection scheme against another in an entirely unhelpful way.
“In seeking to undermine the concept of and evidence base for fortnightly or variable frequency collections, it shows little respect for the local decision making process enshrined in the Government’s Localism Act and the significant efforts made by local authorities to provide ’value for money’ collection and recycling services that meet residents’ needs while keeping costs down and delivering maximum environmental benefit.
“Once again, it would appear that chasing headlines has taken priority over providing a policy framework that supports councils in the difficult decisions that they are currently having to make about local service provision. Both the public and private sector waste industry is already driving hard to achieve efficiency and quality and there is plenty of evidence of innovation in all aspects of waste collection, some of it linked to Mr Pickles’ Weekly Collection Support Scheme and plenty that isn’t.
“We will of course have to wait to make detailed comment until DCLG chooses to republish the guidance but CIWM’s message is that we would like the department to commit itself to genuine best practice sharing rather than dogma and confrontation.”