Anger over ‘£1m cost’ of bin cuts

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The Star is running a poll at www.thestar.co.uk - answer yes or no to whether Sheffield council should set aside £2.44 million from its budget next year to protect weekly bin collections?

But the council leader has defended the policy, claiming binmen are currently ‘emptying fresh air’ at some addresses.

Coun Julie Dore, council leader, said the authority has not yet set a date to bring in the new arrangements, because councillors and officers are ‘working up’ proposals to ensure the change goes as smoothly as possible.

Ideas include allowing more plastics to be collected for recycling and giving households an ‘amnesty’ - allowing black bins to be collected even if overfull and permitting households which produce large amounts of waste to leave extra bags for collection.

However, opposition Liberal Democrats say the reduced collections could have a hidden cost of £500,000 to £1 million, because contractor Veolia is entitled to payments to cover the cost of changes in council policy.

Coun Ian Auckland, shadow cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “People still have many unanswered questions. But what is clear is this unpopular move wouldn’t save as much money as Labour claim.”

But Coun Dore said: “The proposal to go to an alternate weekly service is not something we have considered lightly. We would not be making the change if it was not for the cuts and it will save £2.44 million per year.

“At present, we’re paying to empty fresh air from some addresses which don’t produce a lot of rubbish. After the change, people will still have a weekly collection, which is what households have always had.”

“We are not rushing into anything and are taking time to consider how we can ensure households can make the change.”