No plans to scrap fortnightly bin collections in Norwich

Norwich's councils have defended fortnightly bin collections despite government plans to revert back to weekly pick-ups.

Local government minister Bob Neill has said he wants to 'reverse the legacy of Labour's savage cutbacks to weekly rubbish collections'.

Under the plans, ministers will issue fresh guidance, including offers of incentives and support, to town halls in the next couple of months on how they can bring back weekly services.

The news comes after councils struggled to collect bins due to last month's snow and icy weather. The problem was exacerbated by the number of bank holidays over the Christmas period.

Most bin collections are now back on track although some people are still waiting for their bins to be collected for the first time in weeks.

Despite the recent problems, officials from Norwich City, Broadland and South Norfolk councils said fortnightly collections have helped improve recycling rates and they would not consider returning to a weekly service.

A City Hall spokesman said: 'Since an alternate weekly collection service for recycling and waste was introduced in the city from 2007, Norwich has made massive strides to reducing waste and recycling more.

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'Since wheelie bins have been provided, there have been less reports of pests such as rats to us. It would cost the council hundreds of thousands of pounds to change services to weekly, at a time when we are having to make significant savings.'

Robert Savage, South Norfolk's cabinet member for the environment and recycling, said: 'The council phased in fortnightly collections from 2003 and it has been successful. Local people have recycled more and thrown away less which is hugely important for our environment.

'Returning to weekly collections would cost around �2m a year on extra vehicles and bin crews.'

All three councils in and around Norwich alternate between waste and recycling collections. Food waste is also collected in the Norwich City Council area and parts of Broadland.

A spokesman for the department of communities and local government said it would not force councils to reinstate weekly collections but had scrapped the Audit Commission and removed all the incentives to cut services.

Would you like to see the return of weekly bin collections? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.