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Local Government Bill offers scope for local waste collection referendums

Members of the public could receive powers to decide the frequency of their local waste collection services under reforms announced by the Government earlier today.

Local government minister Bob Neill announced plans to let local residents force referendums on any key local issues, including waste collection rounds, under new powers awarded to them under the forthcoming Localism Bill.

A spokesman from the Department for Communities and Local Government told MRW that the referendums would be triggered by a certain amount of interest from residents over an issue. But the exact figure will not be announced until the Bill goes before Parliament.

Neill’s announcement came as he congratulated Dartford Council in Kent for its referendum on waste collection frequencies, which found that 94.5% of respondents were in favour of weekly against fortnightly waste collection rounds.

Neill said: “It’s good to see the council listening to local people and keeping the weekly bin collections they value. I hope other councils will follow Dartford’s example in the difficult times ahead as we work together to cut the deficit and listen to local people about what services matter the most.”

Despite the announcement of the referendums, it remains to be seen how they will interact with the forthcoming review of waste management policy launched by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which pledged to investigate “how government can work with local councils to increase the frequency and quality of rubbish collections”.

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