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Strict limits on Pickles' bin fund

Councils will only be able to bid for a share of the community secretary’s £250m pot for bin collections if they commit to weekly residual waste collections, officials have indicated.

In a move that apparently rules out bids for cash to fund weekly food waste collections, David Prout, director general of localism at the Department for Communities & Local Government, told MPs the fund would be reserved for councils whose bids met three key criteria.

One of these would be retaining or reinstating weekly residual waste collections, he said.

“It’s about three things: it’s about reinstating or retaining a weekly black bag collection - in other words, so you as a household get your rubbish collected every week - and it’s about improving environmental performance, and it’s about improving value for money,” he told the communities and local government select committee.

The insistence on weekly residual waste collection comes despite evidence that fortnightly residual waste collections boost recycling rates. Currently around 56% of councils in England operate fortnightly residual waste collections.

In November, a snapshot survey by the Local Government Association (LGA) found limited support from councils to bid to the £250m to support the reinstatement of weekly residual waste collections.

But the survey found around half of respondents would bid to support weekly food waste collections, if the fund allowed it.

Gary Porter, chair of the LGA Conservative group, said the LGA was lobbying ministers to open the fund to support weekly food waste collections, but Mr Prout’s comments appear to have ruled out this option.

Last week, MRW reported a survey showing an overwhelming majority of people were satisfied with their waste collection - and those with alternate weekly arrangements were less likely to want to switch to a weekly arrangement.

First reported by our sister title LGC

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