A REVIEW into Sheffield’s waste service is to go ahead with all options on the table, including a switch to fortnightly collections – although the Government is offering councils cash to keep weekly collections.
Sheffield Council’s ruling Labour group has passed a motion proposing a ‘comprehensive’ examination of the service to see how it can achieve ‘best value and the best possible service’ for residents.
Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member responsible for the waste service, said: “The administration will be asking the council’s cross-party Economic and Environmental Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee to undertake a comprehensive review of the waste management service.
“The committee will be asked to investigate how the council can best provide an effective and sustainable waste management service based on people’s needs and expectations whilst achieving value for money for local taxpayers.”
Coun Bramall’s motion – approved yesterday – was an amended version of a motion proposed by Lib Dem leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, urging all councillors to commit to weekly bin collections.
The opposition remains implacably opposed to any change. Its environment and transport spokesman, Coun Ian Auckland, said: “Supporters of the fortnightly collection claim that it would save money.
“However, only this week we have seen reports of a £100m Government scheme that will provide a financial incentive to stay weekly.
“What’s more, there would also be the cost of increased fly-tipping and some refuse collectors might see their job disappear.
“Fortnightly bin collections coupled with council tax increases wouldn’t be fair and it doesn’t make practical or financial sense for Sheffield.
“No political party included the policy in their manifesto, therefore there is no mandate for Labour or anyone else to reduce Sheffield’s bin collections by half.”
The review will also reconsider how the council’s recycling collections are made, after controversy over blue bins and boxes. Residents are now able to choose which receptacle they put different types of recycling into but the cost of changing collection arrangements has still not been determined.
Sheffield Council needs to save around £50 million next year – and up to £7 million of £84 million savings being implemented this year are in jeopardy, which were dependent on renegotiating cheaper deals with contractors who provide some council services.
Labour councillors say they have no specific plans to reduce bin collections but that switching to fortnightly would save £2.4 million.
They fear they may not be offered anywhere near enough money from the Government to make up the amount and preserve the weekly service, as around £100 million is to be made available nationwide and Sheffield usually gets one per cent of any national sum.