Bins just ain't what they used to be

PUBLISHED: 13:07 07 December 2006 | UPDATED: 13:39 04 May 2010

I HAVE read the recent debate in the letters pages regarding the issue of recycling in our district and some of the problems which households are facing. I do genuinely understand the concerns residents have raised regarding the smells coming from their b

I HAVE read the recent debate in the letters pages regarding the issue of recycling in our district and some of the problems which households are facing.

I do genuinely understand the concerns residents have raised regarding the smells coming from their bins, their fear of the health risks and the idea that alternative weekly collection is a money-saving exercise.

It is our job as a council to help those who are experiencing problems to find solutions and we will be doing just that.

We launched the pilot in Witchford so we could learn what was required to offer the best waste collection service possible when alternative week collection is rolled out across the district. Residents in the village have made a huge effort to make this pilot work and have highlighted areas which we need to deal with and we all thank them for this.

Historically, the UK has dumped a high proportion of its waste in landfill - it was seen as a cheap option and there were many sites where this could be done. This is no longer the case - burying rubbish which could be recycled is a terrible waste of our natural resources and a blight on our landscape. This is why we need to recycle to create a safer environment for future generations - we cannot go back to a time when we didn't manage our waste.

In order to promote recycling, central government is raising the level of landfill tax - in effect we will all be penalised for sending high levels of rubbish to be buried. If we fail to meet our targets, these penalties will have to be out of Council Tax, which would either mean cutting existing services or increasing the money we collect. It is in our interest to ensure we recycle all we can.

Research done elsewhere in the country, where more than one third of local authorities have now implemented alternative weekly collections, has shown there is a significant reduction in waste going to landfill and have not found any evidence of any health and safety problems.

As a district council, we need to learn from other parts of the country where they have implemented alternate weekly collections successfully and include their experience in our future plans. We constantly strive to offer the best service we can to everyone but if people feel they have a problem then I would encourage them to contact us on 01353 665555.

CECILIA TREDGET (deputy chief executive)

East Cambridgeshire District Council

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