Government eases pressure on councils to restore weekly bin collections


Efforts to make councils restore household weekly bin collections are to be abandoned, as ministers fail to reverse the trend towards fortnightly waste rounds.

There will be no new initiatives to persuade local authorities to bring back weekly pick-ups of domestic waste, despite a high profile pledge made by the Conservatives to preserve the "basic right" of householders to have their rubbish collected each week.

"Ineffective" and "expensive" funding for weekly bin collections is not likely to survive the latest spending review, a source has told the Daily Mail, as unprotected departments are asked to find savings of up to 40% as part of public spending cuts of £20 billion. 

Under the coalition government, then communities secretary Sir Eric Pickles announced a controversial £250 million fund to support councils to keep or return to weekly collections for residual waste.

But it failed to convince councils to switch back from fortnightly collections of black bin rubbish, with local authorities claiming it was too expensive to do so, they boosted recycling rates and residents were happy with the schemes.

At the time just five councils - out of 85 which secured funding - were named by the Communities and Local Government as having plans to return to weekly collections: Stoke-on-Trent City Council; Manchester City Council; Rochford District Council; Canterbury City Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

Manchester has denied it had ever had such plans, instead spending the money on improving existing waste collection services for residents.

Stoke-on-Trent ended its plans for a return to weekly collections last year after a feasibility study revealed it would cost around £34 million more than the council's existing household waste and recycling scheme - far more than the grant it had been offered.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said it continues to support frequent bin collections.

"The Government encourages councils to support the wishes of local people, many of whom believe every household in England has a basic right to have their rubbish taken away every week," said the spokeswoman.

"The Government continues to champion frequent and convenient bin collections which protect the environment and public health. We will also be working with local authorities to make recycling easier for people.

"This department also published 'guidance on weekly rubbish collections' which showed that local authorities can make savings while not harming the quality of the service that local taxpayers receive."