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Friends of the Earth hits out at rumoured incentives for weekly waste collections

Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth (FoE) has criticised reports of Government plans to announce financial incentives for councils to return to weekly waste collections as part of its forthcoming review of waste policy.

According to a report in the DailyTelegraph, the review is set to announce a £100m a year funding plan to allow councils to return to weekly collections.

FoE waste campaigner Julian Kirby dismissed the reports as being “about saving face with a vociferous minority”.

He said: “Moving from fortnightly to weekly waste collection comes with a hefty price tag at a time when council budgets are being squeezed more than ever. Some estimates put the cost as high as £530m during the next four years, even before the extra £100m the Government is offering as a sweetener.

“Fortnightly bin collections boost recycling and save councils huge sums of money by avoiding the need for costly landfill and incineration. They are popular and perfectly hygienic so long as food waste is collected weekly.”

Speaking at a New Local Government Network event earlier this year, communities secretary Eric Pickles said: “If we don’t sort this [fortnightly waste collections] out, we will set the cause of localism back by a generation, by creating an army of residents who view their council with resentment rather than respect.

“There is genuine anger that, in the past decade, their council tax bills have doubled but their bin collections have halved. In the public’s experience, the iron fist of the municipal state has come down on people for the most minor of bin breaches.”

A Defra spokesman said: “We won’t comment on speculation about the final detail of the waste review. It is important that the right polices are in place to help communities and businesses reduce waste and maximise recovery of materials through recycling.  The review will be published shortly.”

Chartered Institution of Wastes Management chief executive Steve Lee said: “We don’t know what will be in the Government’s review of waste policy. However, the next steps in waste collection and recycling need clear thinking rather than tub-thumping. It isn’t just a matter of how often our waste is collected; it is about providing waste and recycling services that give the maximum environmental and economic benefits whilst being convenient and easy to use.”

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