SOUTHAMPTON has been hailed for keeping weekly bin collections – and other Hampshire councils told to bring them back.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles picked out the city council for praise in a new report designed to demolish “myths” about rubbish and recycling.
The study insists supporters of fortnightly collections – now widely adopted across Hampshire – are wrong to argue they are necessary to save cash and boost recycling.
And it concludes: “Innovative solutions can mean councils can protect weekly collections at little or no extra cost.”
Among those authorities is Southampton, Mr Pickles argued – pointing out it expected to slash £1.3m from its £13m waste bill by next year.
It had joined forces with neighbouring councils to cut back-office costs and was saving funds on agency and overtime working.
Southampton was also imaginatively using “social media technology to target its student population and encourage it to increase recycling”.
These changes were allowing the council to “retain a weekly collection of waste during a period when the city is expected to increase the number of households it collects from by over 4,000 households, a four per cent increase by 2017”.
However, Mr Pickles had fierce criticism for the majority of Hampshire councils that have defied him by switching to collecting waste every fortnight. They include Eastleigh, Fareham, Gosport, the Isle of Wight, Test Valley and Winchester. New Forest has retained weekly collections.
Mr Pickles said his myth-busting “bin bible” report had found a staggering 95 per cent of residents wanted their rubbish taken away every week. And he added: “Rubbish collections are the most visible service that people get for their £120 a month council tax bill.
“We have exposed ten false fictions that fortnightly bin barons cling to as excuses for cutting services.
“If councils adopt this new guide as their ‘bin bible’, they will be able to save taxpayers’ money and still increase the frequency and quality of rubbish and recycling collections.”
However, in reality, Mr Pickles appears to have lost the battle to persuade town halls – including Conservative ones – to switch back to weekly collections.
A £250m fund was instead gobbled up by councils that already picked up rubbish every seven days, in order to boost recycling.
Southampton was awarded £8.3m, which it will use to run ten new vehicles to collect glass and to replace older vehicles that can no longer be used.
And a phone app will allow residents to set up mobile phone reminders to put out their bins on the correct day and find their nearest communal recycling facilities.