Pickles in a pickle over waste changes?

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Tory Minister Eric Pickles has put in a bid to be the politician who has promised most and delivered least. For the FIFTH time since he became Communities Secretary, he has promised the return of weekly collection of grey bins.

 Mr Pickles’ trouble is that many Conservative councillors don’t agree with him. Tory councillors up and down the land have brought in fortnightly collections, saving millions of pounds every year for the Council Tax payers. The Daily Mail has attacked his  empty promises on this issue, calling him “Mr Bluster”.  Three months ago they accused him of ‘betrayal over this issue:


 Council leaders have declared that that Mr Pickles’ efforts to reverse the trend to fortnightly collection have been a ‘sham and PR stunt’. Five million more homes have gone fortnightly while he has been in charge.

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Kirklees Borough Tory Councillor David Hall helped introduce fortnightly collections when he ran the council for the Conservatives  from 2006 to 2009. He said:

“We’ve received very few complaints, in fact the system has worked very well. We’ll have to wait and see what the Government proposes but I think people in Kirklees are fairly happy with fortnightly bin collections. People are used to the system now and I hope it encourages them to recycle more.”

He added that scrapping weekly bin collections had not harmed the environment.

“There was a lot of hype at the time that we would see a big increase in foxes and vermin but that hasn’t happened.”

Peterborough Conservative Council Leader Ben Franklin forced through the change to fortnightly collections in 2005 and his Tory colleague Diane Lamb said: “I have had no complaints about the new system and I think it is working perfectly.”  And fellow Conservative Councillor Yvonne Lowndes, said: “The majority of people are really pleased to have got their brown bins. I think it will work well.”

Eric Pickles’ ‘double’ Joe Anderson, the Labour Mayor of Liverpool, also famously broke his public promise to bring back weekly collections – when he suddenly discovered it was going to cost City Council Tax Payers between £3 million and £5 million per year.

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Southport Conservatives several times went to the polls promising to restore weekly collection of general household waste.  Despite dozens of opportunities, they have never once proposed restoring weekly collections in the council chamber.

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