The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has responded defiantly to claims it has failed in its bid to reinstate weekly waste collections among English councils.
An article in the Daily Mail newspaper published yesterday (March 10) claimed the Department had betrayed voters over weekly bin collections, and that five million households had lost weekly waste collections since the coalition government came to power in 2010.
According to the newspaper, 60 councils have introduced fortnightly waste collection services since May 2010 and it claims that as many as 18.5 million households will have lost weekly waste collections by the general election in 2015.
The Daily Mail also claims communities secretary Eric Pickles has admitted he is powerless to stop councils from opting out of a weekly waste collection service. The newspaper added that councils have been forced to make changes to services because of the level of cuts handed down by the government.
This is despite significant efforts by the Department to encourage councils to carry out collections of residual waste weekly, including a £250 million Weekly Waste Collection Fund which offered funding to 85 local authorities and the release of a ‘bin bible’ which sought to dispel myths which DCLG claims are used to promote fortnightly services.
DCLG minister Brandon Lewis defended the Department’s work to encourage weekly collections of waste and criticised the Welsh Government over its support for fortnightly waste collections.
In a statement published on the Department’s website, he said: “Our Weekly Collections Support Scheme has safeguarded the weekly service of six million English homes and axed the last government’s policy of forcing fortnightly collections for all.
“We have scrapped plans for new bin taxes, are reining in unfair bin fines and have axed bin snoopers’ powers of entry into people’s homes. It is a myth that fortnightly collections are needed to save money or increase recycling, peddled by town hall bureaucrats and bin barons who don’t care about frontline services.
“This is in contrast to Wales where the Welsh Government is responsible for its waste policy and has an official policy of fortnightly collections and even proposed monthly collections.”