A petition opposing a move to fortnightly general household bin collections in the Horsham district has been launched.
Earlier this week Horsham District Council revealed it was planning to make the changes from spring 2018 due to the need to make savings and improve recycling rates.
Fortnightly bin collections could save HDC £730,000 a year, while it needs to improve its recycling rate from 45 to 50 per cent by 2020.
However the move has been met with a barrage of opposition by residents on social media as a ‘ridiculous idea’ and ‘crazy’.
The petition launched by the Horsham Labour Party said: “As the Tory district election proudly proclaimed at the time, in 2015, the Tories promised to continue weekly bin collections.
“Now we learn they plan to break this promise and move to fortnightly collections.
“Please sign Horsham Labour Party’s petition to demand that the Tories honour their manifesto commitment and continue weekly collections.
“Don’t let the Tories get away with this rubbish proposal!”
HDC is also planning to bring in rear-loading bin lorries, which would save another £230,000 a year, and also increase green waste bin charges from April 2017.
Roy Cornell (Con, Roffey South), HDC’s cabinet member for waste, recycling, and cleansing, said: “Waste and recycling collection is one of the most high profile and highly valued services provided by the council and we are extremely proud to have the highest recycling rate in West Sussex, but we must continue to strive to do better.
“The council is under considerable pressure to increase levels of recycling and minimise the volume of waste send for disposal.
“It is, therefore, important we continue to develop the service our neighbours and Chichester and Mid Sussex are already offering.
“We want to encourage more people to recycle whilst managing the unprecedented Government cuts to our budget. By moving to an alternative weekly collection system, we will save Horsham around £1m a year, and increase our recycling rate.”
Mr Cornell added: “It’s something we have put a lot of hard work into. We have not just come to this conclusion with the flick of a finger. It’s a process we have thought very deeply about.”
Ray Dawe, leader of the council, confirmed they would not be consulting on the changes as they have held briefings with all councillors, who ‘overwhelmingly support the changes’, adding: “This is nothing revolutionary or unusual.”
Although the Horsham district has the highest recycling rate in West Sussex, it is about five per cent short of the 50 per cent national recycling target it has to reach by 2020 and the council is anticipating that reducing general waste collections to every two weeks will increase their recycling rates.
A second smaller recycling bin will be available for a £5 delivery charge, as will free recycling bags.
The changes are not due to come in until the spring of 2018 as the new fleet of rear-loading bin lorries will take about nine months to procure, while a Government grant to maintain weekly collections ends in late 2017.
Crew numbers would be roughly similar but the new vehicles would only need one driver rather than the current two. The council also struggles to employ an adequate number of HGV drivers.
The rear-loading vehicles would use the same bins and the council would save money on maintenance and repairs as the new lorries will be ‘significantly cheaper’ to operate, while the fleet size would also be reduced.
What do you think? Comment below or email letters for publication to the newsdesk.
To view the petition click here.
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