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Pickles gives 85 councils cash for weekly rubbish collections

By Nick Mann | 22 November 2012

A total of 85 councils in England have been allocated a share of a £250m fund aimed at ensuring weekly waste collections, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced today.

The awards will go to 90 projects and ensure more than 6 million families receive a weekly collection of non-recyclable rubbish, the Department for Communities and Local Government explained.

Funding has been awarded for ‘comprehensive and cost-effective’ schemes that harness innovation, use new technology and reward people for recycling.

Birmingham City Council has received the largest single award – almost £30m – from the Weekly Collection Support Scheme. The city will spend it on providing a recycling reward scheme for all households and increasing the frequency of recycling collections for 100,000 households from fortnightly to weekly. It will also be used to ‘support’ weekly collections of residual waste.

Other councils to secure funding of more than £10m include Stoke-on-Trent, Bournemouth, Medway, Luton and Liverpool.

Pickles said that, without the fund, there was the risk that weekly waste collections could have all but disappeared by 2015, as was happening in other parts of the UK such as Northern Ireland.

‘Every Englishman has a basic right to have their household rubbish taken away each and every week – it is the most visible council service people get. Yet under the previous administration, weekly bin collections halved while their council tax bills doubled,’ he said.

‘Over 6 million families will breathe a sigh of relief tonight because we have put a stop to the fetid fortnightly rot and saved many weekly collections from extinction, all while increasing recycling rates by hundreds of thousands of tonnes to boot.’

Mike Jones, chair of the Local Government Association’s environment board, said councils would be using the money to make an already efficient service even better for residents, but stressed that there was no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to collecting household waste and recycling.

‘What matters most to people is that their waste is collected in a reliable, efficient way which allows them to recycle easily,’ he said. ‘This can be achieved in different ways, depending on local circumstances. For some homes, alternate weekly collections would not be suitable. But many who do have their non-recyclable waste collected fortnightly are happy with that arrangement.’

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