Thomas Bridge 01 December 2014

Pickles bin vow branded ‘hot air’, with collections made once every 12 days

Bins are being collected on average once every 12 days, with just 6% of council’s meeting Conservative commitments for weekly pick-ups – research suggests.

It is thought only 17 of the 285 local authorities that responded to Labour’s freedom of information requests collect general rubbish once every seven days, leaving potentially 48.7m people having their bins picked up less often.

The poll suggests recycling bins are collected on average every 13 days, with food waste – where collected separately – picked up every nine days and garden waste every 13 days.

The findings come despite continuing Government pledges to see bins collected once a week. Two years ago, 85 councils were awarded a share of £250m from communities secretary Eric Pickles’ controversial Weekly Collection Support Scheme.

In the past Pickles has famously declared that he considers it ‘a fundamental right for every Englishman and woman to be able to put the remnants of their chicken tikka massala in the bin without having to wait two weeks for it to be collected’.

The communities secretary this summer barred councils that failed to offer weekly bin collections from bidding for £5m to boost local recycling levels.

Labour’s shadow communities secretary Hilary Benn told the Daily Mail that Coalition commitments to restore weekly collections had today been exposed as ‘pompous hot air’.

‘This comprehensive study fatally undermines Eric Pickles’ boast when he was in opposition and in government that he would return Britain to weekly bin collections and keep extra charges down,’ Benn said.

However government sources branded the research misleading, as it counts garden waste collections as a weekly service that is not the case in most areas.

Pickles said: ‘Conservatives in Government have kept to our promises; we have abolished Labour’s bin taxes, reined back in bin snoopers and have actively supported weekly collections, whilst keeping council tax down.’

This October saw Bury Council becoming the first in the country to opt to collect some household rubbish once every three weeks, in moves designed to contribute to £800,000 savings and boost recycling rates. Local government minister Brandon Lewis branded the move away from fortnightly collections ‘a bad decision’.

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