Labour councillors criticised for ignoring residents' bin collection preferences
LABOUR councillors have defended their plan to introduce fortnightly bin collections across Hull.
The majority party has been criticised by opposition councillors for seemingly disregarding the preferences of the public.
Liberal Democrat councillors said the Labour group has ignored the results of a "waste pack" questionnaire sent to residents in the city.
Portfolio holder for the environment councillor Martin Mancey has defended the council's decision.
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He said: "At the moment, the council is paying about £4m a year in landfill tax and the fortnightly collections will help to reduce this cost and increase recycling levels across the city.
"The questionnaire was drawn up by officers before the financial pressures were wholly known.
"If we had been aware we needed to save £1m from this area, the questionnaire may have been constructed slightly differently.
"The last thing we want to do is raise people's expectations if we cannot deliver what we are proposing."
The questionnaire was distributed to residents across the city to see if the public wanted weekly or fortnightly bin collections.
The results showed 73 per cent of residents who completed the survey wanted at least one of their bins collected weekly, of which 47 per cent expressed a preference for weekly blue bin collections.
Opposition councillors say many people in the city were not in favour of the change with just 26 per cent of 20,000 residents surveyed wanting fortnightly collections for both blue and black bins.
Labour claim the move will help save the council save £1m as it looks to make £33m of savings over the next two years.
Cllr Mancey said: "We will provide more blue bins free of charge for people who request them.
"By having fortnightly collections, residents will take more care to separate their recyclable waste from their other rubbish.
"The fortnightly collections will save the council more than £1m."
However, Lib Dem councillor Adam Williams said the survey was irrelevant given the stance of the council.
He said: "We were told earlier this week the results of the survey were irrelevant and Labour were always going to introduce fortnightly bin collections.
"Most people wanted at least one of their bins collected every week and that is something that has been overlooked by the council.
"What we want to do is have a trial of weekly blue bin collections to try to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill.
"This doesn't have to be citywide. We can target certain areas where waste disposal is a problem and monitor the impact of weekly collections."
Lib Dem councillors served a notice of motion at the full council meeting this week to try to introduce a trial of weekly blue bin collections.
However, Cllr Mancey said the issue had been debated sufficiently at previous scrutiny meetings.
He said: "The issues has been debated in depth with all party groups in a meeting earlier.
"The proposals were welcomed and praised by a value-for-money scrutiny commission.
"If we didn't have the current financial implications, I would have been more supportive of the weekly blue bin collections."
Lib Dem councillor Claire Thomas called for the administration to consider other options at a meeting earlier in the week.
She said: "This is clearly a decision that affects everyone in the city and people talk about this all the time.
"I am shocked those behind the decision didn't feel there was any point in referring the matter to any other committees.
"I find the idea that scrutiny doesn't have a role to play very concerning.
"I can't understand why there are no other available options. Surely there are others that could save money."