CIVIC chiefs are urging households to work with them as major changes to bin collections start today.

In a move which will affect thousands of households across Southampton, bin collections have moved from weekly collections to fortnightly.

However, fears have been raised that the move by Southampton City Council could cause chaos, an increase in vermin, and the messy sight of bin bags left out on the streets.

Cabinet member for environment, Jacqui Rayment, has already admitted there are likely to be problems in the first few weeks of the new system.

But she is adamant that the change is for the better, and will also save money and improve recycling rates.

Cllr Rayment was not available for comment this week, but cabinet member for transformation projects, Cllr Christopher Hammond (pictured), said: “We have put in a lot of preparation into the change. We have done our best to raise awareness with residents and have done mailshots and question and answer sessions.

“We have done a lot to highlight it and done interviews with the media.

“A lot of work has been done behind the scenes to optimise the routes so there is a sensible delivery service on the day, and if there are issues we will address them when and where they occur.”

The fortnightly service is being introduced as part of a £42.3 million package of savings agreed by the city council when it set its budget in February.

Household waste will be collected one week and recycling waste the next, and the move will affect about 70,000 households in the city.

Conservative opposition leader in Southampton, Cllr Jeremy Moulton, said he believes the change will make the city a dirtier place.

Cllr Moulton said: “I hope it will be smooth, but I am not confident.

“I think some people will cope perfectly fine but other areas in the city will struggle.

“Even if a family copes particularly well with it, if they are living next door to a property that is not there could be an overflow of bins.

“I do not think it will be a temporary thing, people will adjust to it but I think it is going to a permanently dirtier and litter-strewn city as a result.”