Weekly bins collection idea ‘a publicity stunt’

Thursday 6th October 2011 10:00 pm
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LOCAL Government Secretary Eric Pickles' offer of £250m to allow councils, including South Hams, to revert to weekly rubbish collections has been condemned as 'a publicity stunt'.

The criticism of Mr Pickles' eve of Tory Party conference offer came from Salcombe mayor Roger Moore.

Cllr Moore said: 'My personal view on this issue is very straightforward, it is a £250m publicity stunt. The current system functions and we have become used to it, garden refuse and recycling is also collected and everything has settled down and is in the main working well.

'At the same time as this "generous" offer is being made we have areas of government refusing to repair footpaths; rejecting safety improvements on our streets; reducing roadside verge cutting to only twice a year; announcing that they are no longer going to keep our streets free of weeds; and cutting the funding of affordable housing to practically zero.

'This kind of behaviour to my mind is akin to treating the electorate like children.'

He added: 'Our political masters seem to take delight in breaking things and then fixing things that aren't broken.'

The idea also got the cold shoulder in Ivybridge. Michael Saltern, a district councillor there, was asked at a recent town council meeting if South Hams would bring back weekly collections. He said: 'No. We will not support this proposal. It is very good and successful system that we have already in place.'

In Kingsbridge, Mr Pickles' offer was given a lukewarm reception. Town clerk Martin Johnson said: 'My understanding is that Government is to set up £250m to help principal councils restore weekly bin collections.

'So this is an opportunity for South Hams Council to consider its current routine of fortnightly collections.'

He added: 'I am aware that both camps make strong arguments but no doubt a decision will come down to resources and finances.

'What I can say is that here the town council has not been lobbied to any great extent to have a weekly collection restored.'

South Hams Council said: 'As a high-performing district council with an established collection system and a 57 per cent recycling rate, the cost of reverting to a weekly collection would be hard to justify to council tax payers.'

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