Thomas Bridge 14 January 2015

City deems weekly bin collections too expensive despite Government fund

A city has turned down introducing weekly bin collections using a flagship Government fund, claiming the change would be too expensive and fail EU regulations.

Stoke on Trent City Council was awarded £383,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) £250m Weekly Collection Support Scheme to undertake a feasibility study on seven day collections, but has now declined to move ahead with weekly pick-ups.

The Government has continually supported the collection of bins every week, with communities secretary Eric Pickles famously declaring it a ‘fundamental right’ for communities not have to wait two weeks for collections.

Stoke on Trent claims it used ‘only a fraction’ of its Government funding to produce a feasibility study. However the town hall could have been in line for £14.3m of support if plans had been developed further and won approval.

Cllr Andy Platt, the city council’s cabinet member for green enterprises and clean city, said the town hall had ‘endured massive budget cuts over successive years’ and had been advised that ‘funding offered by government would not cover the increased cost of implementing weekly collections over the course of a standard five-year contract, leaving us to make up the shortfall’.

‘Further, the option to reinstate weekly collections by a return to a one-bin collection system was deemed not to be compliant with EU regulations, which call on separate collections for a prescribed number of materials. Weekly waste collections also go against best practice guidance for waste reduction,’ Cllr Platt said.

He added that the council was now using findings from the initial feasibility study to develop a range of waste management options. Other councils across the country are using funding from the Weekly Collection Support Scheme to implement seven day rubbish collection.

A spokesperson from Medway Council confirmed to LocalGov that the local authority had used DCLG funding to introduce weekly bin collections in the region.

Figures published at the beginning of December last year revealed that bins were on average being collected just once every 12 days, with only 6% of local authorities meeting Conservative commitments for a weekly pick up.

At the time Pickles hit out at the claims, arguing the Government had ‘abolished Labour’s bin taxes, reined back in bin snoopers and have actively supported weekly collections, whilst keeping council tax down’.

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