Rumours that the Government is to create a £100 million fund to incentivise councils to reinstate weekly refuse collections have caused a stir in the municipal services industry.
Biffa Municipal managing director Roger Edwards said: “I see this rumoured fund as a bribe to councils to go backwards. Why change collection systems that are established, accepted and proven to work? I suspect most councils with fortnightly schedules would shudder at the thought of introducing weekly refuse collections.”
It is thought that the move will be part of the upcoming Defra Waste Review and will be similar in concept to the fund introduced this year to persuade local councils to freeze council tax.
Edwards confirmed that, excluding high density urban areas and city centres which usually require more frequent collections, across the local authorities that Biffa provides recycling and refuse services for, fortnightly waste collections were “perfectly acceptable, and accepted by most residents” in the areas where they operate.
While he agreed that it is ultimately the councils’ decision to accept or reject the incentive, Edwards said: “I fully understand that in the current climate of budget austerity, this idea may appear attractive. I just urge councils to scrutinise the small print, to ask lots of questions, and to really understand the long-term implications for either council or contractor-delivered services.”