DCLG lambasts weekly waste opponents
12 March 2012
Councils choosing to reject government funding to offer weekly waste collections are “kicking local residents in the teeth” according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
The statement came in response to a poll of local authorities which suggested that only around a quarter of councils eligible to apply for funding for the government’s £250 million fund to reinstate or maintain weekly collections of residual waste were interested in doing so.
The survey, conducted by the Press Association ahead of Friday’s deadline (March 16) for councils to submit an expression of interest to the DCLG, showed that 26 of the 59 authorities polled had no interest in signing up to the scheme. Meanwhile, only 13 of the local authorities questioned said that they were likely to apply and a further 20 were still considering whether to apply, had not decided or did not respond.
Commenting on the poll, a DCLG spokesman said: “Rubbish collections are the most visible service people get from their £120-a-month council tax bill and ministers believe every household in England has a basic right to have their rubbish collected every week.
“The government’s £250 million weekly waste collection support scheme is there to help councils retain or reinstate weekly residual waste and improve recycling services for their residents. Councils who choose to reject this fund are kicking local residents in the teeth by leaving them with a second-rate service.”
Sheffield city council has already publicly expressed its intention not to bid for funding under the scheme, after announcing its switch from weekly to alternate weekly household waste collections. The move drew criticism from communities secretary Eric Pickles, (see letsrecycle.com story), but the council responded saying that it needed to agree budgets before funding would be announced, likely to be in October.
Last month, Bristol city council also branded the fund ‘unfair’ after learning that it would not eligible for funds to introduce a weekly nappy collection scheme, and claimed that the fund would only support ‘poor performing local authorities’ (see letsrecycle.com story).
Despite the setback, a number of councils have already expressed an interest in applying for funds including Bath & North East Somerset and St Albans city and district councils, who announced last month that they would be putting submissions forward for financial support (see letsrecycle.com).
Meanwhile, Manchester council is also expected to submit an application for funds to improve waste services to residents in high rise flats, but the council will be retaining fortnightly waste collections.
Councils have until Friday (March 16) to submit an initial expression of interest in applying for funds, with outline bids due by May 11, and final bids by August 17. Approval for funding will be confirmed in October 2012, with the first money available in the 2012/13 financial year.