One of Basingstoke and Deane’s three MPs has slammed a proposed change to start collecting rubbish bins from homes across the borough once a fortnight.
The idea to empty grey and greens bins on alternative weeks is currently being considered by the borough council in a bid to encourage more people to recycle.
Both bins are currently collected together each week, with a recent residents’ survey showing 95 per cent of people to be happy with the service, although the council insists a switch to alternate weekly collections (AWC) could save £1million a year.
But North East Hampshire MP Ranil Jayawardena, who served as deputy leader on the authority until 2015, feels that the change would “punish families”.
“These proposals are junk,” he said.
“Weekly black bin collections are best for local people and when I was deputy leader of the council, we repeatedly ruled out moving to fortnightly collections, so to say that the council has to look at all the options is just rubbish.
“It will punish families; if the council wants to increase recycling, then why not look at those areas of the borough that don’t recycle and sort that out, rather than cutting the service for those that do?”
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s community, environment and partnerships committee discussed the proposal last month as part of negotiations for the authority’s new joint waste contract.
The existing eight-year deal is due to come to an end next October, with cabinet member for environment and regulatory services, Cllr Hayley Eachus, feeling that the option could result in the service being more “efficient”.
She said: “It would be wrong not to look at the service as a whole and consider all the options, especially given the size of this contract and the substantial savings the council will need to find in the future.
“At this point we don’t need to make any decision, we just want to have all the facts and see if there is evidence to support any change.
“This is an opportunity to look at how we can continue to provide the high levels of service that residents have told us they value but in a more efficient way, and that will encourage people to recycle more and waste less.”
But Mr Jayawardena disagreed with this point entirely and expressed his belief that there is nothing wrong with the current bin collection service on offer.
He added: “Until now, I’d have said it’s a shame that other local authorities have not followed Basingstoke and Deane’s example in protecting this service.
“I’ve always urged those with fortnightly collections to move back to weekly ones.
“Now, I just hope that Basingstoke and Deane won’t can a decent service just because some folk don’t know what bin they should use.”