City to start fortnightly rubbish collections

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BLACK bin collections in Sheffield are set to become fortnightly and garden waste collections will be axed altogether, in a bid to save around £4m a year.

Sheffield Council’s cabinet committee said yesterday it proposed moving towards alternate weekly collection of black bins, which would cut around £2.44m each year in costs.

Over the next two years, the council’s waste management service has to find savings of up to £7m, at a time when the council is trying to deal with Government-imposed budget cuts of £170m by 2015/16 and £57m in the next financial year alone.

Before the plans are finalised, a formal decision will be made at a meeting of the cabinet committee next month, and then brought before a full council meeting in March.

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for the environment and transport, said: “Saving millions of pounds within the waste service will allow the council to protect services for those that most need help and support, like vulnerable older people.

“I believe that’s the right choice and I think that Sheffield people will understand and support that approach.”

The council’s move towards fortnightly black bin collections comes after the coalition Government announced it would be making £250m available to help English councils keep or restore weekly bin collections.

But the authority says the Government “has yet to commit a penny” towards keeping weekly collections.

Coun Bramall added: “If the Government do commit to giving Sheffield enough money to cover the cost of maintaining weekly bin collections before cabinet makes its final decision, we would happily agree to keep the weekly collections.”

In November 2011 Coun Bramall wrote to the Government asking it to confirm that it would cover the £12m extra cost of weekly collections. He says the response was “entirely non-committal.”

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the council’s Lib Dems, said: “The truth is that the council wouldn’t actually save any money by going to a fortnightly bin service next year, as millions of pounds are on offer from the Government to maintain the weekly collection.”