No plans for weekly bins

A GOVERNMENT offer of funding for councils to return to weekly bin collections has been rubbished by a Scarborough councillor.

Yesterday it was revealed that Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, would unveil the policy during his speech at next week’s Conservative Party conference.

Although no details have been officially released it is understood that the Government will make £250 million in funding available to local authorities who promise to reinstate weekly bin collections for a five year period.

But Cllr Andrew Backhouse, Scarborough Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said he was cautious about the plan because the figures did not add up. He said: “It is a soundbite of political opportunity on the eve of the conference. This is just headlines in the news – the devil will be in the detail.”

He added that the promised funding would equal around £500,000, if it was divided equally between all local authorities, but it would cost about £1 million to revert to weekly collections across the Scarborough area.

Cllr Backhouse said there would be a danger of not hitting tough European targets because weekly collections would make people less likely to recycle their waste. He said: “People are in the habit of recycling now. We still have figures to comply with –if we don’t Europe will fine us.”

We will have to recycle 45 per cent of waste by 2013 and 50 per cent by 2015 – between April 2010 and March this year 40 per cent was reached.

Andy Skelton, the council’s head of Environmental Services, said that there were currently no plans for a return to weekly collections because no details were yet available. He said: “As yet the Borough Council does not have the details of the Government proposals to financially support weekly bin collections so it is difficult to know how they might affect things here in Scarborough.

“Once the details of the scheme are published I am sure the council will wish to carefully consider the financial and environmental implications.”

Opinion polls have suggested that almost 75 per cent of householders are opposed to a fortnightly collection system.

One of the main objections is that, because household waste is left longer between collections, it is considered unhygienic and would attract rats.