Councils given £250m handout to reinstate weekly bin rounds

Councils will be given £250m to restore weekly bin collections from April 2012 under a new plan by the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG).

In what appears to be yet another U-turn by ministers, local authorities in England will be able to apply for funding under the Weekly Collections Support Scheme to switch back to weekly collections – although they will not be forced to do so, edieWaste understands.

A source close to the DCLG, which is headed up by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles – who has been very vocal on reinstating weekly collections – told the BBC yesterday (September 29) that the funding would be on top of funds issued to councils in the Local Government Financial Settlement and that it was “within the DCLG Spending Review envelope”.

The move is bound to dishearten many councils who operate alternate weekly collections and believe that a fortnightly service is key to delivering higher recycling rates. Over 50% of of English authorities currently offer this service.

When Defra released its Waste Review in June, it indicated that it would working with councils to increase the frequency of waste collections, but remained coy on detail. According to the BBC source, this was because the policy wasn’t ready at the time, but it has since been fleshed out and approved by ministers.

Under the proposals being outlined, councils could bid individually for the cash or in groups. Funding would be given to those that guaranteed to retain or reinstate weekly collections of residual waste for at least five years.

Industry reaction to the scheme will be published later today.

Maxine Perella

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