Weekly bin collections axed in Liverpool

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Liverpool's famous purple wheelie bins © Mickle2009/CreativeCommons/Flickr

Liverpool’s famous purple wheelie bins © Mickle2009 / CreativeCommons / Flickr

Weekly bin collections are to be scrapped in Liverpool after a decision  taken by the city council, despite Mayor Joe Anderson promising to keep the scheme in his election pledges last May.

Councillors have voted in favour of moving to fortnightly pick-ups of bins, after Mayor Anderson had originally stated that the weekly bin collection scheme would be retained.

The main aim of the change is to try and force the people of Liverpool to recycle more, as the city is said to have the lowest recycling rate of any of the English core cities at only 26.6%. This would help the council to avoid increased charges for failing to recycle.

Cllr Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, told the meeting: “Sometimes it is important to come together on big decisions for the city and it is far more important to do good than to look good. I am sure if we agree this then I am going to get a lot of stick, not just if but when there are problems.”

The Green Party and its deputy leader, Councillor John Coyne, did not support the scrapping of the scheme and abstained on the vote, but Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Liberals all backed the move to fortnightly pick-ups due to the lack of funds available to the council.

Cllr Coyne said that he was more disappointed in the manner of the decision, with the whole council being asked to decide rather than the mayor making the decision himself.

John Coyne of the Liverpool Green Party

John Coyne of the Liverpool Green Party

He told JMU Journalism: “If he [Joe Anderson] felt compelled to break that promise due to circumstances that he failed to foresee then he should ‘man up’, take the decision himself and apologise to the people of Liverpool.  Instead he wanted all his councillors and opposition councillors to join him in standing on our heads.”

Councillor Steve Radford, leader of the Liberal Party, said that the decision is not one that the council is happy to make but that they were forced in to it by the lack of responsibility taken by some members of the public.

He told JMU Journalism: “Our city taxpayers are already penalised with high land fill charges. The population are irresponsible too often when it comes to recycling… if Liverpool [people] acted like they should, we would not be faced by this dilemma.”

Cllr Radford also attacked the Green Party for its views on Mayor Anderson’s decision to consult the whole council.

He said: “It shows the lack of democracy within the Green Party to want the Mayor to act like an all-powerful dictator. Of course he was right to ask the whole council. It is political opportunism and hypocrisy of a party that says it is green.”

This news comes after the council withdrew from a £10 million government grant to improve bin collections in the area. The council removed its offer due to the costs over the long term.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson. Pic: Liam Deveney

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson. Pic: Liam Deveney

The 80,000 terraced houses of the city will keep their weekly bin collections but the remaining 136,000 households will have the scheme made fortnightly.

The mayor’s budget for 2013/14 shows that Liverpool City Council needs to find savings of £32 million over the next year, on top of the £141 million that the council has saved over the past two years.

The council plans to put through more ideas for saving money in three ‘tranches’.

The second tranche of options includes areas such as alternative funding for projects, and savings options for “children and young people services”.

About Adam Jones, JMU Journalism