Councils Could Be Forced Back To Weekly Waste Collections

Councils could be forced to revert back to weekly “black bag” collections if Tories win the general election next year, according to Eric Pickles. 

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, told The Sunday Telegraph that he hasn’t given up on his quest to “bring back” the weekly bin collection.

He revealed that one of the options being considered is that of a minimum service standard for waste collection.

Pickles – “One option being considered by the Conservatives is the introduction of a minimum service standard, which would reinstate the previous legal requirement for councils to collect rubbish weekly”

“The UK Government will continue to stand up for hard working people who deserve a decent bin service,” he said.

“One option being considered by the Conservatives is the introduction of a minimum service standard, which would reinstate the previous legal requirement for councils to collect rubbish weekly.”

According to Pickles, fortnightly collections means that more people are forced to take their waste to local waste centres.

Fortnightly Collections

Despite a range environmental groups stating that fortnightly collections produce more recycling, Pickles has fought hard in his efforts to persuade councils to revert to weekly collections.

Among his efforts to “bring back” the weekly waste collection, Pickles implemented funding from the DCLG that councils could use to upgrade their waste services – including a return to weekly collections.

In August last year Pickles issued guidance for councils to tackle “the daily obstacle course” of wheelie bins and recycling boxes” in streets.

More recently Pickles and his team at the DCLG published the so-called “Bin Bible”, which was aimed at destroying “the lazy left-wing myth that fortnightly bin collections are needed to save money or increase recycling”.

Reshuffle

According to reports in The Mirror, Eric Pickles may be replaced in a Cabinet reshuffle.

The reports state Prime Minister David Cameron is set to make the communities secretary Tory Party chairman, replacing Grant Shapps.

It is thought the PM is of the opinion that Pickles has the right “heavyweight image” to convince UKIP voters to return to the Tories.

CIWM Says

“This is potentially a lose-lose situation,” says CIWM chief executive Steve Lee. “Many councils have moved to alternate weekly collections as a way of increasing recycling provision and participation while keeping costs down. At a time when local government is facing unprecedented financial challenges and recycling progress in England is stalling, this is a dangerous policy that could cost the taxpayer dearly.

Steve Lee, CIWM – “It is a shame that we are still having this unhelpful debate, which undermines local authorities and damages public perception around recycling and the need to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill”

“Almost 18 months ago, a Standard Note entered into the House of Commons Library 1,2 provided a clear overview of policy developments around the frequency of waste collections and a summary of views, as well as noting the potential £1/2bn cost to the public purse of Mr Pickles’ plans to restore weekly collections.

“CIWM wants to see local councils supported and allowed to decide how best to provide the right collection services for residents to encourage recycling, keep council tax down, and protect other vital council services. This surely is in line with the Government’s stated commitment, through the Localism Act, to devolving decision-making from central to local government and the communities it serves.

“It is a shame that we are still having this unhelpful debate, which undermines local authorities and damages public perception around recycling and the need to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill. This sector needs a government that supports our collective efforts to put waste back to work and realise the benefits to the UK economy.”

1 Commons Library Standard Note: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN05988/bin-collection-alternate-weekly-collection

2 Comment for MRW, Feb 13: http://www.mrw.co.uk/opinion/government-lags-behind-industry-views-on-future-of-resource-efficiency/8642921.article

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