COUNCIL co-leader Ian Boulton has accused the government of acting like King Canute trying to hold back the tide on recycling, as a fresh row broke out over plans to reduce black bin collections in South Gloucestershire.
The authority is consulting residents about whether general waste collections should be cut from fortnightly to every three or even four weeks.
It says black bin rubbish is reducing as recycling rates rise, so it is not necessary to collect it as regularly – and this would also save money as the council is forced to make cuts.
But in November the government announced it intends to order councils to collect non-recyclable waste at least every other week.
The council says no decision has yet been made and it will consider residents’ feedback from the current public consultation, which runs until January 7, as well as any changes to legal requirements from Whitehall.
Opposition Conservative councillors criticised the Liberal Democrat/Labour administration for relying on reduced black bin collections when there was a danger they could be scuppered by the Government.
Rachael Hunt (Con, Emersons Green), who was in charge of recycling under the previous Tory administration, told a cabinet meeting on November 13: “The new administration has chosen to put out proposals in recent months which financially rely heavily on cutting back bin collections to three- or four-weekly to succeed.”
Cabinet member for climate Louise Harris (Lib Dem, Dodington) said the plans had been under discussion for two years, adding: “Your previous administration actually submitted the original plans that talked about changing the bin collection from two-weekly to three-weekly or even four-weekly as quite a lot of authorities do, so I’m not really sure why that comes as a complete surprise to you.”
Cllr Boulton (Lab, Staple Hill & Mangotsfield) said: “The one thing that is becoming very clear is the amount of waste that is recyclable is increasing and the amount of waste that is being recycled is also increasing, so it’s interesting hearing from the Government that they want to go against the current trend.
“It’s almost King Canute-esque that they want to go against the current trend where more and more waste is recyclable, so it will be interesting to see how the Government squares this with its own climate emergency endeavours.”
The consultation is open until January 7 at
By Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service