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Councils 'may be unable to commit to weekly collections'

A number of factors could put councils off applying for funding for weekly kerbside collections, local authority recycling chiefs have warned.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles last week revealed details of the selection criteria for funding through the £250m Weekly Collection Support Scheme.

Local authorities need to submit expressions of interest by 16 March, with outline bids by 11 May and final bids on or before 17 August.

The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee said the quickfire bidding process was just one factor that may put councils off bidding for a slice of the fund.

In a statement, the body said: “It is unknown how many councils will feel able to commit to maintaining the service after the fund has been spent.  

“Possible changes in administrations after the local elections during the next five years, an uncertain economic future and the short timescale for procurement will have a bearing on the bidding process.”

However, the body welcomed the move to include organics collections in the fund.

Chair Joy Blizzard said: “I am particularly glad to see that weekly food waste collections have not been excluded, and that there has been an attempt to ensure that the way in which the fund is spent will not lead to a decline in recycling performance.”

The Local Government Association last week criticised certain aspects of the scheme.

It said it was “disappointing households in some areas will miss out because government has excluded those councils currently in the process of switching to alternate weekly collections”.  

Waste spokesman Clyde Loakes said: “This sets a double standard, which arbitrarily penalises local authorities reviewing their waste collection arrangements this year, while offering money to those who have already made the switch.”

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