Norwich rubbishes weekly bin idea

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:22 01 July 2010

Brian Morrey

Brian Morrey

Council leaders in Norwich have rubbished a suggestion from the new coalition government that could pave the way for the reintroduction of weekly bin collections.

Council leaders in Norwich have rubbished a suggestion from the new coalition government that could pave the way for the reintroduction of weekly bin collections.

Fortnightly waste and recycling collections have become commonplace for thousands of householders across the city and Norfolk and it was a preferred method of dealing with rubbish for the previous Labour government.

But the new Tory-Liberal coalition signalled a return to the emptying of bins on a weekly basis, despite concerns that the policy could increase landfill and reduce recycling rates.

Communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles, has written to the Audit Commission asking the organisation that monitors council spending to stop encouraging local authorities to collect general household waste every two weeks.

But the new guidelines, which would cost authorities more money to return to a weekly arrangement, has been criticised by Norwich City Council.

Brian Morrey, deputy leader, said: “I think it is nonsense. Since we introduced alternate weekly collections, Norwich has gone from one of the poorest performers to one of the best. We are one of the best authorities in reducing waste going to landfill.”

The city council, which currently recycles 34pc of household waste, is set to introduce a weekly food waste collection scheme in the autumn.

Mr Morrey added: “Rather than going on about having a weekly collection, the government should encourage more food waste schemes.”

A return to weekly bin collections was one of the Conservatives' election pledges claiming that fortnightly collections were “unpopular” and “unhygienic.”

Mr Pickles said there had been a “conspiracy” to kill off weekly collections under the former Labour government and criticised the Audit Commission for marking down authorities that do not have fortnightly arrangements.

Currently all councils in Norfolk, apart from the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, conduct an alternate system where recyclable items are collected one week and general household waste is collected the next.

A spokesman for Broadland District Council said: “Returning to a weekly collection would require an extra five vehicles on the road and increase the carbon footprint as well as costs of collection. We don't plan to go back to an old system that didn't work, but we do plan to continually improve the service - in line with keeping costs low.”

John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council said the secretary of state was not forcing councils to go weekly, but just reversing the guidance from the Audit Commission. He added that going back to a weekly collection would cost the council an extra £1m a year on extra dust carts and bin men.

A spokesman for the Audit Commission added that it had the responsibility to recommend the most cost effective policies to authorities.

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