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Snub for celebrating council

Councillors who campaigned against a controversial recycling scheme have snubbed a party held to celebrate its sensational success.

Members of the Vale Royal Borough Council Labour party insisted they were too busy to toast the local authority's incredible one-year rise from 10% to 40% recycling.

The ruling Liberal Democrat party introduced alternate-week collections 12 months ago despite much opposition from Labour and refuse collector union GMB.

Lead councillor for waste services Malcolm Gaskill said: "Labour councillors wouldn't come to the celebration. We invited them but they said they were too busy."

Vale Royal started fortnightly kerbside collections of recyclables last April to work towards a target of 30% recycling by 2010.

Labour councillor Brian Lloyd led a campaign against the scheme due to concerns about general refuse only being picked up every 14 days.

He said research had proven that waste left in a bin for this long would give off gasses harmful to bin men and householders. This fear was echoed by GMB branch secretary Jim Cairns.

But Gaskill said this week: "No-one raises health fears now. We invited people to public meetings before we launched the scheme, and calmed their concerns then.

"Labour fought this scheme tooth and nail but they knew full well that collecting waste weekly would mean £1 million on Council Tax."

Gaskill was adamant that the high recycling rate was achieved by only collecting residual waste fortnightly, as this made people maximise use of their recycling bin.

"You won't get to 30% recycling by collecting refuse weekly," he said. "The green bin is too much of a temptation. We have got our residents thinking about waste when they walk into a supermarket. They are rationing their waste."

And Vale Royal is not resting on its laurels. "I don't think we've even started yet," Gaskill said. "I want 50% next year. Then by 2020 we won't need an incinerator in Cheshire."

Lloyd was unavailable for comment.

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