Plans to axe weekly rubbish collections in Sheffield have proved controversial. Today, The Star sets out the opinions of those for and against the plans - and gives you the chance to vote YES or NO.
What do you think? The Star is running an online poll at www.thestar.co.uk. Simply answer yes or no to whether the council should set aside £2.44 million from its budget next year to protect weekly bin collections?
YOUR VOTE: Should Sheffield Council set aside £2.44 million from its budget for next year to continue with weekly rubbish collections? Tell us Yes or No....email us, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with Bin Collections YES or Bin Collections NO in the subject field.
In your email - only one per household please - also include your full name, age, address and phone numbers. Usual data protection policy applies. See bottom of this story.
Due to public demand we are extending our deadline to 2pm on Friday, January 27, 2012.
Sheffield Council’s ruling Labour group is set to make the change to ‘alternate weekly collections’, with black refuse bins emptied one week and blue recycling bins and boxes the next, to save £2.44 million each year. The authority needs to save £57m next year.
It is proposing the change despite an offer by the Government for a share of £250m to preserve weekly collections for the next year because ministers have so far not given details of whether any help will be available in future years or what conditions will be made in return for the cash.
Critics of fortnightly collections fear large households and people in flats will end up with overflowing bins and predict a rise in fly-tipping - but those in favour say the change won’t be a problem as long as people recycle more.
Steve Ruffle, development manager at Rotherfed - a group representing tenants’ and residents’ organisations in Rotherham where there are already fortnightly bin collections:
“Rotherfed has been supportive of recycling. In our experience, the system we have has not caused any major problems or lots of complaints.
“There were initially some concerns for large families but the council has provided extra support to help and that approach has been welcome.
“As long as support is given to help people work through the change, which means people getting used to recycling more, it should not be a problem.
“There is not any clamour for the old weekly collections to be brought back in Rotherham.”
Roger Stone, leader, Rotherham Council:
“The £250 million offered by the Government to fund weekly collections for the next year isn’t going to go very far when spread nationally - and you would still have the same problem next year.
“We have no plans to bring back weekly collections.
“Our system was introduced with a view to saving money and it has worked quite well.”
Pauline West, of Firshill, Sheffield, and a tenant director of housing management company, Sheffield Homes:
“I live in flats where we have six black bins between nine tenants and only four recycling bins. All of them get full very quickly.
“Most estates have enough of a problem with rats as things are - and I’m sure it will increase with this change. Bins will be overflowing.
“The council is going to have to offer some sort of extra help for people in flats or large families.”
Against: Coun Paul Scriven, former Lib Dem leader of Sheffield Council who retained weekly rubbish collections when he was in charge between 2008 and 2011:
“It’s not surprising that Labour’s decision has been met with widespread opposition. Even Labour politicians admit a weekly collection would be the best option.
“Therefore many local people, like me, will still be wondering why Labour councillors have made this decision without applying for a share of the £250m on offer from Government to keep a weekly service.
“Finances aside, there are many reasons why a weekly service should be saved from Labour’s axe. First of all, those that want to put their bin out every two weeks could do so. But the many larger households who genuinely require a weekly service would not be penalised. We also have to consider that there will be more waste for the black bin as Labour reduce recycling services.
“There is another issue that Labour councillors have failed to consider. Sheffield has an energy from waste plant, which burns our rubbish to provide heat for local buildings and homes.
“This requires a minimum tonnage of waste. Moving to fortnightly collections would require us to transport in waste from elsewhere to keep the plant going. Surely that doesn’t make environmental or economic sense..”
What they’re saying on the web:
The fate of Sheffield’s bin collections has provoked dozens of comments on The Star’s website.
261graybags said: “There must be lots of other things that the council can cut back on that would not effect the majority of people like this will.”
But Keep Calm Ben10 said: “If you think the front line is your bin being emptied then god bless you. Not such an important matter on the grand scale of things just get used to it.”
Theloxleycountryclub said: “We fill our black bin every week. Nevertheless, we’ll try harder to recycle by separating glass and plastics etc and using the local dump-its at supermarkets and such.”
Cakelady said: “Is anyone surprised? This is purely a political decision by a spiteful Labour council to score points over the Tory-led government.
“Millions of pounds could be saved in many areas including getting rid of the non-jobs, consultancy fees, cutting pay and perks of councillors on senior civil servants, etc. No need to touch front line services.”
Iwanttruth said: “The council promised that when they make all the cuts in spending they would make sure that all the front line services would be protected and rubbish collections are a front line service - they have yet again broken a promise.”
Other readers made suggestions such as making retailers reducing the amount of packaging used - which would cut the amount of waste.
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