Pickles’ £250m Weekly Waste Collection Fund Fails To Convert Councils

Not one local authority used the £250m weekly collection fund stumped up by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to actually revert back to a weekly residual waste collection service, data released by the DCLG has revealed. 

Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, set up the funding for local authorities to return to and support existing weekly collections of residual waste – or to invest the money in schemes that would benefit the environment, such as weekly collections of dry recycling or food waste.

The revealing data was released after Lord Greaves asked a parliamentary question on the scheme. He wanted to know which local authorities in England have taken part in the scheme, which received financial support and which have reinstated weekly collections.

Responding, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon revealed the DCLG received initial expressions of interest from 151 lead local authorities, which resulted in bids from 113 local authorities.

“Pickles has long been a supporter of weekly waste collections, despite many in the waste and resources sector supporting collections of reduced frequency because of evidence suggesting they produce more recycling”

In total, 86 councils were awarded funding, according to the latest data, of which, not one used the money to revert back to weekly collections of residual waste, and only 18 used the funding to either introduce, support or expand a weekly collection of food or organic waste.

The only council to sign up to the original plan to revert from fortnightly to weekly collections was Stoke-on-Trent City Council, which has now decided not to continue with its plans, according to reports by the Daily Mail.

The council was awarded £14.3m to revert to weekly household waste collections for a minimum of five years, but city officials told government that the plans would be “too expensive”.

Pickles has long been an open supporter of weekly waste collections, despite many in the waste and resources sector supporting collections of reduced frequency because of evidence suggesting they produce more recycling.

More recently, the DCLG stumped up £5m for councils to offer incentive schemes to encourage greater recycling among residents. The catch being this pot is only available to councils that offer a weekly waste collection services. (See CIWM Journal Online story)

£250m Funding: Who Got What

The DCLG data shows that the local authority to receive the most cash was Birmingham, which received £29m to introduce a reward scheme to encourage recycling and to introduce weekly recycling for over 100,000 residents.

Medway received £14m to introduce a weekly collection of recycling and organic waste. Bournemouth also received £14m for a waste facility that could process partnering councils’ recycling. Bournemouth received a separate £7m to offer an “opt in” weekly food waste collection service.

Eight councils used the funding to either introduce a weekly collection of recycling or increase the frequency from fortnightly to weekly.

North East Lincolnshire received £3.5m to introduce weekly collection of dry recycling from fortnightly and to expand on the materials that can be recycled.

Manchester received £2.5m of the funding pot to change its commingled recycling collection from fortnightly to weekly.

Other weekly introductions include a weekly collection of textiles in Bexley, which received £160,000 to roll out this service.

CIWM Journal Online has contacted the DCLG for comment.

For the full DCLG data CLICK HERE


 

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