Bid to cut costs could see bin collections going fortnightly in Southend

Waste collections could become fortnightly next year in Southend as the council bids to cut costs.

The move had been raised in an officers’ report, but it had not been publicly announced until Conservative councillor Dan Nelson questioned it at last week’s meeting of the full council.

But he warned that the move would be unpopular with voters and a “red line” for the opposition.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Nelson said: “There is, in a finance report, a mention of it as a potential saving, and it is on the forward plan as business to be decided. There’s been a lot of concerns behind the scenes that they want to move to bi-weekly collections.

“We were expecting the administration to deny the claim but they didn’t. There is a big push to look at bi-weekly bin collections because they potentially increase fly-tipping.

“Residents don’t want it and we’ve said we will do all we can to protect weekly collections.

“It’s a red line for us.”

Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, did not deny the possibility of fortnightly collections being introduced.

He said: “All I will say is there is a paper on waste collection arrangements which will be published in the New Year and I would urge people to wait for that before discussing this further.”

The council has fallen short of its 50 per cent target for recycling in the last two years.

Currently, black bin bags are used for general waste and pink sacks are used for recycling with both collected weekly.

However, new plans could see wheelie bins introduced with recycling collected one week and general waste next week.

A campaign to raise public awareness is also on the cards via awareness days, posters, adverts, leaflets and competitions.

Where space is limited, as it is in many densely populated areas of Southend, sacks are still likely to be provided.

Weekly collections of food waste would be mandated following the implementation of the government’s Environment Bill.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter