Pickles’ Bin Bible Labelled “Insulting” And “Potentially Damaging”

07-01-14(1)picReacting to the re-publication of DCLG’s Guidance on weekly rubbish collections – also dubbed the “Bin Bible” – members of the waste and resources industry have slammed the document as “insulting” and “unhelpful”.

The “Bin Bible” aims to persuade councils that offer a fortnightly waste collection service to move to a weekly service.

Secretary of State Eric Pickles’, in an interview with The Telegraph, said the report aims to destroy “the lazy left-wing myth that fortnightly bin collections are needed to save money or increase recycling”.

Following a publishing blunder of the document, which was released first last week and then removed from the DCLG website, only to be published again over the weekend (4 Jan), CIWM’s chief executive Steve Lee has said that the Institution’s early concerns about the guidance remain.

Steve Lee, CIWM – “It is misleading in its assertions over the cost of waste management collection and disposal, which may be a small proportion of the average Council Tax bill but represents the third largest area of spend for local authorities”

“While it is very welcome to have good practice examples from those local authorities who were successful in securing funding from DCLG’s Weekly Collection Support Scheme, this guidance is potentially damaging from a number of perspectives,” he said.

“It is insulting in its use of provocative terms such as “lazy” and “idle” to describe councils who have moved to fortnightly (or alternate weekly) collections. It is misleading in its assertions over the cost of waste management collection and disposal, which may be a small proportion of the average Council Tax bill but represents the third largest area of spend for local authorities.

Lee also said that the guidance ignores a Government estimate, which claims the cost to local authorities of a wholescale move from alternate to weekly collection “would be in the region of £140m in the first year, and £530m over the period of the Spending Review”.

Unhelpful Debate

“Whether on a weekly or an alternate weekly basis, UK householders benefit from convenient and reliable kerbside waste collection and recycling services,” said Lee. “By creating more unhelpful debate over the frequency issue, Mr Pickles’ office undermines these efforts and obscures the bigger issue, which is that waste is a significant cost to our society and, rather than having a ‘basic right’ to weekly waste collections, we have a collective responsibility to create less and recycle more.”

Barry Dennis, ESA – “It will be of little or no help to hard-pressed councils who are trying to maintain local services”

The Environmental Services Association’s (ESA) director general, Barry Dennis, commented on the guidance: “ESA believes local councils are best placed to decide how to meet their residents’ expectations as regards waste collection and recycling services. There is no one size fits all solution for all local areas and both weekly and fortnightly systems can work well, depending on circumstances.

“In ESA’s view, local authorities are likely to find the DCLG “Bin Bible” deeply unhelpful. It is not objective Government Guidance, couched in measured language, but a one-sided argument against fortnightly collections, which uses loaded terms like “lazy” and “idle to describe councils which have gone down that route.

“It will be of little or no help to hard-pressed councils who are trying to maintain local services.”

The DCLG guidance can be found here

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