Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Fund to boost weekly bin collection

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles sayd he believes weekly bin collections are a 'basic right'

A £250 million scheme to encourage councils to keep or bring back weekly bin collections is being launched by the Government.

Local authorities will be able to apply for money to support weekly collections, as well as for schemes which reward residents with vouchers for recycling their rubbish.

Funding will also be available for facilities with technology that sorts waste after it has been picked up, so that families do not have to sort their rubbish into as many as nine bins and containers.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is launching the scheme, first announced before last autumn's Conservative Party conference, in a bid to reverse the move towards fortnightly rubbish collections.

More than half of councils in England now have systems in place in which refuse is collected only once a fortnight, although many pick up recycling or food waste once a week. A survey by the Press Association last year found councils were sticking with fortnightly black bin collections, claiming that a return to weekly rounds would cost millions and undermine recycling efforts.

Mr Pickles has said he believes that weekly collections are a "basic right", and has already taken steps to encourage councils to bring them back - including scrapping Audit Commission guidance telling councils to introduce fortnightly collections.

Last month the Environment Department - which has responsibility for waste and recycling - announced details of plans to get rid of "bin fines" for householders who mistakenly put their rubbish out incorrectly.

Announcing details of the £250 million fund, Mr Pickles will say: "The public are fed up of all the bin dos and bin don'ts they just want a simple service, which is why Government is making sure that councils can offer a good weekly collection and make it easier to go green."

The Government claims more than 70 councils have signalled their interest in applying for funding under the programme, including Bournemouth, Windsor and Maidenhead and Sandwell. Councils have until mid March to put in bids for funding, which will be available from April.

Hilary Benn, Labour's shadow communities secretary, said: "And at a time of deep cuts, when local councils are having to make very difficult decisions, the quarter of a billion pounds Eric Pickles has found for this could be much better spent on preventing SureStart centres from closing or providing extra care for our elderly people."

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