Council says it 'can't afford' to collect recycling from new estate

Line up of watse 'wheelie' bins in UK street
Line up of watse 'wheelie' bins in UK street

Residents of a new estate in Scotby, Cumbria, have been told by the local council that it can't afford to collect their recycling.

Carlisle City Council has written to householders on the Alders Edge estate telling them to take their plastic, cardboard and garden waste to the bins at the nearest Tesco. Others have been told on the phone to simply put their recycling in the general waste bin.

The bin lorries don't have room for recycling from new addresses, and there's no money for any more, the council says.

Residents are up in arms - particularly as the recycling bins at Tesco that the council is recommending have been closed since Christmas, thanks to flooding. Residents such as Brian Marr, 74, have been forced to make a 16-mile round trip to the local authority tip at Brampton instead.

"I can't believe the council has the audacity to charge us full council tax for a service they are not providing and should be providing. Why should we be any different to the people across the road whose green bins do get picked up?" he tells the Daily Mail.

"They charge us and our neighbours the same amount of tax but then they don't pick up our bin. It's laughable. It beggars belief."
Carlisle City Council says it's planning an overhaul of its waste collection services, and says it hopes to be able to collect recycling from Alders Edge 'at some point in the future'.

But, like most councils, it's suffering from government cutbacks. Some, indeed, are facing multi-million-pound shortfalls that mean many services will have to be cut, even if council tax bills are increased by the maximum 3.99%.

"Councils have been planning for further funding cuts in 2016/2017, but some will have to find millions of pounds more in savings than they had planned for in even their worst case scenarios," warns Sharon Taylor, vice chair of the Local Government Association.

Given the focus on improving recycling rates, most are cutting back on general waste collection instead, and many are reported to be considering a shift to monthly bin collections.

Fife Council has already done so, while Powys council in mid-Wales has moved to three-weekly collections and says that reducing this to once every four weeks could save it £300,000 a year.

Part of the argument is that this will encourage residents to recycle more - although research by Liberal Democrat MP Mike Enea has revealed that councils in England and Wales with fortnightly collections are achieving significantly higher recycling rates than those which collect general rubbish less often.

Local Government Spending Has Been Cut 'Substantially'
Local Government Spending Has Been Cut 'Substantially'