A rubbish service

FOR the benefit of those council bosses still in denial about the growing disquiet over the uncollected rubbish piling up on streets around the country, including Leeds, the issue is a simple one – residents pay, handsomely, for a refuse service which is simply not being honoured.

Of course, the snow was going to provide an element of disruption. Everyone accepts this. But parts of Leeds, for example, garden waste has not been picked up since October – a full month before the big freeze. The weather cannot be attributed to this; only management failure.

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What is happening, however, is that the weather is being used as an excuse for public service provides, like councils or transport operators, not to put in place any contingencies so they can fulfil their "contract" with the paying public.

The Government's response – to order the reinstatement of weekly bin collection rounds – is not necessarily the answer. A coalition that believes in localism should leave such matters to town halls, and how they intend to meet recycling obligations and such like. Indeed, residents are likely to accept this, provided that they know their bins will be emptied on the stated day.

Perhaps the way forward is for the Government to fine those councils that fail to honour their obligations – it might just help concentrate the minds of councillors and their senior officials whose response, in too many instances, has been bordering upon the complacent.