EFFORTS by council chiefs to look into merging bin collections across Worcestershire have been branded as a ‘waste of time’.
Members of Worcestershire Council County’s cabinet have agreed to find out how much they would save by creating a joint waste authority with Herefordshire Council.
This comes after a scrutiny report, which was presented at a cabinet meeting last Thursday (April 16), revealed the cost of dealing with municipal waste in the two countries was £57million a year.
Coun Ken Pollock, who led the scrutiny task group, said his research found Somerset County Council managed to save £1.7million a year by combining the service and urged council leaders to investigate the potential move further.
However, some county councillors did not believe it was necessary, with Coun Peter MacDonald, county councillor for Beacon and leader of the authority’s Labour Group, describing waste collection as ‘one of the most successful and satisfactory services in the county’.
“I am really concerned we have so many services cut to the bone in this county this cabinet should be seeking money from a Government to carry out an audit to further look into something which nobody wants,” he said.
“Most districts have a pride in the collection of the bins, so I think this is absolutely ridiculous waste of time.”
Roger Sutton said it was also a ‘very emotive issue’ in his area, which was the only one of Worcestershire’s six districts to have weekly collections.
But Coun Liz Tucker, county councillor for Pershore, said it was important to not let ‘pride get in the way of facts’, while Coun Marcus Hart, cabinet member for health and well being, said: “I think we should take this to the next stage and talk to our district partners across the county because if there is a way we can provide a more cohesive and efficient service to the taxpayer then I think that is a good thing.”
Coun Pollock added: “If you consider Somerset have been able to save £1.7million a year then it is not foolish to spend a very small amount of money to see how you might be able to save something or a similar order and that would be a very good way of husbanding our scarce resources.”
Coun Adrian Hardman, leader of the county council, said it would a ‘slow burning’ process, but he believed it was worth find out what the ‘size of the prize’ would be.