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Industry slams Pickles' bin fund delay

Four waste and recycling industries trade and professional associations have undersigned a letter calling on on communities secretary Eric Pickles to allocate the Weekly Collection Support Scheme funds without further delay.

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Environmental Services Association, Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association, and Resource Association have joined forces to put pressure on Pickles to announce the result of the bids for the bin fund.

They have today sent the communities secretary a letter [PDF] which said the delay is having a detrimental effect on the ability of local authorities to procure waste services, not only with regard to the services bid for under the scheme - which include battery, food waste, and disposable absorbant hygiene product recycling services - but their entire waste services.

Money from the £250m fund was originally due to be allocated in October to councils that made successful bids.

The trade bodies said: “The likelihood of local authorities being able to procure equipment and services to roll out successful WCSS proposals in what is left of 2012/13 is rapidly slipping away.”

As a result of this, they say that jobs in the industry are at risk.

“We are aware of equipment and vehicle manufacturers and suppliers who are having to reduce capacity (and employment) as procurement is stalling, which in turn will introduce delays in meeting future demand from local authorities and their contractors.”

They added: “Continued uncertainty and delay will compromise the industry’s ability to deliver and there is a growing risk that the only winners in the event of a sudden up-turn in procurement following any WCSS announcement will be overseas providers of vehicles and equipment, at the expense of UK manufacturers.”

At a recent meeting with the resources management minister Lord de Mauley, industry representatives said that continued green sector growth was only possible with government support. In the letter, they urged the Department for Communities and Local Government to acknowledge the contribution of the resources sector to the green economy by prioritising the bin fund announcement.

This industry call for action follows a report by MRW that the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee condemned the continued unexplained delay in allocation of the Government’s weekly collection fund, and said it was holding up service improvements and could lead to supply problems when the money finally did arrive.

The fund is a pet project of communities secretary Eric Pickles, who wanted it to facilitate a switch by local authorities from alternate weekly to weekly collections - but a MRW investigation in September found that out of 216 eligible councils only Stoke-on-Trent had bid to revert to weekly.

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