Weekly rubbish service warning for parts of Devon
Westcountry councils have defied Communities Secretary Eric Pickles by refusing to collect rubbish bins every week.
But the Tory Secretary of State warned waste authorities which continue fortnightly collections that they could see their funding cut from central government.
The broadside came as details were announced of 85 local authorities getting £250 million to support maintaining a weekly service.
Yet only five councils that dipped into the fund want to restore weekly pick-ups as 80 will continue their weekly collections and improve recycling. Plymouth City Council has secured £4 million and Cornwall Council £1.6 million – both of them, alongside Torridge District Council, already boast weekly collections.
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But the remaining waste authorities – Tory-controlled East Devon, Mid Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge and Torbay councils; Lib Dem-Independent led North Devon; and Labour-held Exeter City Council – either missed out or did not bid at all.
Most take away landfill rubbish only once a fortnight, with recycling and food waste being collected more frequently.
Mr Pickles has encouraged councils to switch to weekly collections, making it a totemic issue. He once proclaimed: "It's a basic right for every English man and woman to be able to put the remnants of their chicken curry in their bin without having to wait a fortnight for it to be collected."
The minister is now taking a more robust line with authorities collecting only on a fortnightly basis.
"Weekly bin collections are one of the most visible frontline services and there is no plausible reason why councils shouldn't deliver them to hard-working residents," Mr Pickles said in a statement.
"We will be looking closely at the central government funding for bin collections; councils receive £28 billion in formula grant funding – it's not unreasonable that they provide a decent bin service in return."
Many councils argue that fortnightly collections help to increase recycling and reduce waste going to landfill, and do collect food waste more frequently. Mr Pickles, though, has a distaste for food waste "slop buckets" in homes.
Former Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, said: "This was always another flawed policy based on myth and prejudice rather than evidence.
"One would have thought the fact that most of the councils sticking two fingers up to Pickles are Conservative might cause him to pause and think again."
South Hams District Council was among those that did apply for money for weekly food collections, but missed out.
A spokesman for South Hams District Council said: "We applied for £1.2 million funding to support the implementation of weekly food collections. Unfortunately we were unsuccessful which is a disappointment.
"However, we have recently carried a recycling and waste review and following consultation with our residents we are considering weekly food waste collections as part of that review. Currently, South Hams District Council collects food waste fortnightly."
Cornwall Council, blighted by rubbish and recycling piling up earlier this year at the start of a new waste contract, said the money would pay for kerbside collections of mixed plastics.
Councillor Lance Kennedy, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for waste management, said: "This major grant emphasises our commitment to the weekly black bag collection service that our residents said they wanted to keep."