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Council bins Pickles' fund

Eric Pickles’ bin fund has been dealt another blow after a council rejected a grant because weekly collections are too expensive and would hinder recycling rates.

Trafford Council was offered £6.4m from Pickles’ fund to increase food waste and keep weekly residual collections. But the council said maintaining weekly collections would cost £11.6m over the five-year period of the scheme.

A statement by the council said weekly residual collections would also make it difficult to improve the borough’s recycling rates.

Pickles launched the £250m Weekly Collection Support Scheme in 2011, saying councils would have no excuse to retain “highly unpopular fortnightly schemes”.

MRW reported in November, following the announcement of the 90 winning bids that just one of the 69 councils using alternate weekly collections would be reverting to weekly.

An MRW investigation in September revealed that of 216 eligible councils only Stoke-on-Trent had bid to revert to weekly collections, while five bid to revert to weekly in localised areas such as blocks of flats, and 74 had bid to retain weekly collections.

Trafford council said its new scheme, including weekly organic and fortnightly residual collections, would save it £1m a year and bring environmental benefits.

Executive councillor Jonathan Coupe said: “Trafford residents have told us they would welcome more opportunities to get involved in recycling so I’m delighted that we are able to offer them a more modern collection service, in line with the rest of Greater Manchester, which allows them to make even more of a difference to our environment and to the public purse!

“There are huge long-term benefits associated with these changes, and areas where similar schemes have been implemented are already seeing recycling rates rising and landfill costs falling considerably.

“I would like to reassure residents that we will work closely with them to ensure they are confident in using the updated service.”    

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “Ministers are now considering how we can further support weekly collections, take forward the innovation being championed by the Weekly Collections Support Scheme, and help deliver greater efficiency and joint working across local government to protect and enhance frontline services.”

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