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Weekly rubbish collections shunned

Just one out of 184 councils responding to a survey about the Government’s weekly collection fund is bidding for cash to revert to a weekly black bag round.

More than half, 96 authorities, said they were not applying to the fund at all, while other councils wanted funding for schemes such as food waste collections, the Sunday Telegraph survey indicated.

The research suggests communities secretary Eric Pickles is losing his battle to persuade councils to ditch bi-monthly collections and return to weekly rubbish rounds (See below for responses).

The survey found:

  • Just one council said it was planning to bring back a full service. Gloucester City Council said it would apply for money from the scheme but in return all houses would be given smaller bins.
  • 96 councils are not applying for funds. Most of them have already abandoned weekly collections, and 58 of the 96 are Conservative authorities
  • 34 will apply for money but only to introduce weekly food waste collections, or increase the number of homes covered, rather than bring in a full service
  • 31 wanted money for plans which will do nothing to bring back weekly collections, including sat nav systems for rubbish lorries, more giant communal bins and even nappy recycling schemes
  • Two councils were in the process of ditching weekly collections - but were still applying to the scheme for funding for weekly food collections
  • Just 17 authorities which currently have full weekly collections said they would apply for money to guarantee their future

Ministers defended the fund. They said it had generated 180 potential bids which had “surpassed expectations”.

The Department for Communities & Local Government said nearly two-thirds came from authorities that “want to retain or reinstate weekly collections to offer more comprehensive collections of residual waste and recycling for their residents”.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: “I’m pleased to see so many councils come forward to stop the rot. This shows councils recognise more can be done to increase the sustainability, frequency and the quality of rubbish collections people get in return for their council tax.”

The Government launched the £250m Weekly Collection Support Scheme to help councils retain or reinstate weekly waste and recycling services in January.

A DCLG spokesman said: “Government will now be working with councils to make sure quality outline bids are submitted by the May deadline. The scoring system will reward bids that support comprehensive weekly rubbish and recycling collections.”

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