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Recycling seen as 'most improved' council service by residents

Recycling is the council service that is perceived as having improved the most in the last five years, an ICM poll said.

Some 48% of those surveyed for the BBC indicated that the quality of recycling collections provided by local authorities had increased - 37% said it had remained the same and 12% said it had worsened.

This positioned recycling at the top of the ranking services seen as most improved, surpassing parks and open spaces and GP surgeries.

This performance was despite heavy cuts in Government funding for local authorities, said the BBC.

But the greatest proportion of (45%) respondents - of which there were more than 1,000 - said the quality of refuse collections had stayed the same. Almost a third (29%) said they had improved and 23% said they had become poorer.

A spokesperson for the Local Government Association (LGA) commented: “Councils know the importance of waste collection to their communities and it is pleasing that this poll confirms that the vast majority of people remain satisfied with their recycling and refuse collection services.”

He added that household recycling had more than doubled to 43% in the last decade, and argued that this was due to councils becoming better and more efficient at collecting and disposing of waste and at recycling.

However, he pointed out that local authorities’ budgets will face further cuts. As part of the spending review for 2015/16 announced in June, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will receive 10% less funding.

The LGA spokesperson also noted that a decision on the level of landfill tax had yet to be made and suggested that it would beneficial to reinvest the tax in waste and recycling projects.

“By freezing landfill tax and reinvesting the money in forward thinking waste and recycling projects, local government could stimulate growth, create jobs and boost an important revenue stream. This would help limit the impact of budget cuts and help us continue to deliver the services our residents rely on.”

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