The move to fortnightly collections led to fears of health hazards from bins overflowing with rubbis
Friday September 30,2011
By Macer Hall, Political Editor
TOWN halls will today be ordered to restore weekly bin rounds to millions of households across the country.
Ministers are set to unveil a £250million fund designed to help councils scrap the fortnightly collections that have been introduced in many towns and cities over recent years.
Any local authority that signs up for the cash will be expected to guarantee weekly bin rounds for at least the next five years.
The move represents a significant victory for Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles, who has been locked in a battle with Whitehall officials over recycling targets.
He hopes the move will finally put an end to the policy of scrapping weekly bin rounds, pioneered by the last Labour government.
Mr Pickles said: “Labour ruthlessly forced councils into axing bin collections. Their policies of bin taxes, bin fines and bin cuts hammered hard-working households and fuelled fly-tipping.
I believe every household in England has a basic right to have their rubbish collected every week.
“Weekly rubbish collections are the most visible of all frontline services and I believe every household in England has a basic right to have their rubbish collected every week.
“Our fund will help councils deliver weekly collections and in the process make it easier for families to go green and improve the local environment.”
Ministers point out that the cost differences between weekly and fortnightly bin collections are virtually negligible.
The move to bring back weekly collections was welcomed by campaigners last night. Doretta Cocks, founder of the Campaign for Weekly Waste, said: “I am extremely pleased that this funding has been made available and our members will be absolutely delighted.”
TaxPayers’ Alliance spokesman Matthew Sinclair said: “It’s good to see a manifesto promise delivered despite the difficult financial times.”
Fortnightly collections have been championed by a series of quangos in an effort to force families to recycle more household rubbish. Labour ministers claimed the system was needed to ensure that councils met EU recycling targets.
More than half the country’s councils axed weekly collections to boost recycling and about 18 million households now have their rubbish taken once a fortnight.
Mr Pickles has been pressing for an end to the switch, which has infuriated millions of residents and led to complaints of serious risks to public health from uncollected waste.
The £250million will also be used to back councils that come up with innovative schemes for increasing recycling and reducing fly-tipping.
One example praised by ministers is the Recyclebank in Maidenhead, Berkshire, which has increased recycling by 35 per cent.
Councils will be encouraged to work together on waste collection to help reduce costs.
They will also be encouraged to provide weekly organic waste collection services on top of weekly bin rounds. Audit Commission rules that penalised councils for failing to move to fortnightly collections have already been scrapped. And ministers have pledged to repeal rules that allow council inspectors to rummage through bins to check whether recycling diktats are being obeyed.
The shake-up seeks to deliver on a long-term Tory pledge.
At the Conservative conference in 2008, David Cameron said: “There is absolutely nothing green about allowing people’s rubbish to rot in the streets. It is a disaster when you have got an increase in fly-tipping all over the country.”