Nearly half the local authorities who took part in fresh research on Eric Pickles’ weekly bins collection scheme have said they are not going to apply for funding.
Councils have until Friday 16 March to submit expressions of initial interest for funding from the £250m weekly collection fund.
But of 59 English councils responding to a Press Association survey published this week:
- 26 said they would not apply for funding or were unlikely to do so
- Only 13 said they would or were likely to
- The other 20 were considering whether to apply now or in the future, had made no decision or gave no answer.
- Overall, 20 out of 34 responding local authorities who already had systems where residual waste was picked up every two weeks said they would not, or were unlikely to, apply for funding.
- Not one of the councils with fortnightly rubbish collections said they planned to apply for funding to increase the frequency with which they collected black-bin rubbish.
Local authorities who are turning down the cash said it would not cover the costs of a return to weekly collections and raised concerns that funding was only available for three years, although councils had to guarantee weekly bin rounds for five years under the scheme.
They also said the move towards fortnightly collections had boosted recycling rates significantly and that there was no demand from householders for a return to more frequent waste rounds.
Waste experts this month warned that councils would have to clear a number of costly hurdles with their waste management contractors if they secured a slice of the government’s £250m weekly collection fund, as exclusively revealed by MRW.
A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: “Rubbish collections are the most visible service people get from their £120-a-month council tax bill and ministers believe every household in England has a basic right to have their rubbish collected every week.
“The Government’s £250m weekly collection support scheme is there to help councils retain or reinstate weekly residual waste and improve recycling services for their residents. Councils who choose to reject this fund are kicking local residents in the teeth by leaving them with a second-rate service.”