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Lichfield District Council ‘not convinced’ over weekly bin collections

Lichfield District Council has revealed it did not apply for money to bring back weekly bin collections as it was “not convinced” such a service was right for the area.

Local Government Minister Eric Pickles had offered local authorities a share of a £250million pot to move away from fortnightly rubbish collections.

Initial applications for the three year fund saw 180 councils express their interest in the money, but Lichfield was not one of them.

Cllr Louise Flowith

Cllr Louise Flowith

Cllr Louise Flowith, cabinet member for operation services, explained that the decision was based on several factors.

“We visit local homes every week to collect different types of waste – recycling one week, general waste the next,” she said. “If we were to change this, and empty both types of waste each week, our trucks would have to travel twice the distance and our crews would have to do twice the amount of work. We’d also use twice the amount of petrol and cause twice the amount of damage to the environment, to generally empty half full bins.

“Although weekly collections might be appropriate for some areas, such as inner cities, we are not convinced weekly collections are right for more rural areas, like Lichfield district, and as such we did not apply for the funding.”

Cllr Flowith also believes residents are happy with the current levels of bin collection.

She said: “We have an award-winning recycling service and team, and our residents regularly tell us how pleased they are with the service. The amount we recycle and compost is also on the rise, which shows our residents find our system convenient and easy to use.”

The decision to reject the chance to bid for a share of the money was supported by the opposition Labour group on the council.

Cllr Steve Norman

Cllr Steve Norman

But Cllr Steve Norman, who leads the Labour group, believes Conservative councillors should be concerned about the growing differences between their local stance on issues and the national viewpoint of their party.

“We don’t disagree with the Conservatives on Lichfield District Council turning down Eric Pickles’ money as the commitment is for five years but the funding is only lasts for three,” he explained. “It was made a big thing of during the General Election. I don’t know if our Conservative MPs support it, but Lichfield district residents seem happy with our service – although there are problems with smells in hot weather.

“Along with opposing the Government’s proposals for HS2 and the reduction in subsidy for solar panels for residents I am – almost – beginning to feel sorry for local Conservatives who seem to be at odds with their own Government on a regular basis!”

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