CIVIC chiefs have described proposals to increase household waste bin collections as “environmental vandalism”.
When the coalition Government came to power last year, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said it was a “basic right” for people to have their household rubbish collected weekly.
Local Government Minister Bob Neill also said recently that the Government could bring in further reforms to help local authorities increase collection rates.
But civic chiefs in Hartlepool have hit back and said they would “strongly oppose” any changes to the current system because of the high recycling rate and the money it saves taxpayers.
There has been a steady stream of councils switching from weekly rounds to alternate weekly collections, in which recyclable material such as green waste, cardboard and plastics is collected one week and household waste, glass and paper the next. Hartlepool introduced this system in June 2005.
Hartlepool’s deputy mayor, Councillor Robbie Payne, said: “As a council we strongly oppose any changes that would force us to collect household waste weekly because the cost to local taxpayers would be huge and it would discourage people from recycling. Recycling saves the council almost £1m a year in landfill charges and also plays a major part in helping to protect the environment.
“The proposals being floated by Mr Pickles can only be described as environmental vandalism.
“Since we introduced the alternate weekly collection system, recycling has increased significantly across the town and reduced the amount of rubbish we have to send to landfill sites.
“The large majority of local residents have really embraced the push to increase recycling to the extent that over 40 per cent of household waste is now recycled.
“It would be sheer madness for the Government to reverse this trend now and ruin all the good work to promote recycling.”
Rubbish in County Durham is currently collected weekly, except in the Derwentside area, where rubbish and recycling collections are carried out on alternative weeks.
In February, Durham County Council’s cabinet committee agreed in principle for the Derwentside system to be rolled out although no date has yet been set.