RESPONSIBILITY for collecting household rubbish would be stripped from the district council under an ambitious cost cutting proposal.
A panel of Worcestershire county councillors has recommended exploring the creation of one combined organisation to collect rubbish and recycling and dispose of it. Currently Bromsgrove District Council is responsible for collecting waste and Worcestershire County Council for disposing of it.
But the panel believes combining both services, along with collections run by the five other district councils, would not only save money but allow co-ordinated campaigns around recycling and other waste issues.
A similar system operates in Somerset and saved authorities in the area about £1.7million a year.
It currently costs £57million a year to dispose of waste in Worcestershire and Herefordshire and the costs are increasing due to rising taxes on burying rubbish in landfill sites.
However district councils are likely to oppose the move as they offered little to no co-operation with the review.
Coun Ken Pollock, chair of the review panel, said he believed the reluctance was due in part to the fact there was a strong link between rubbish collection, the identity of district councils and residents, which would be broken if they lost responsibility for the service.
But Coun Paul Denham, a member of the panel, added: “If it’s possible to save money by combining services, there’s no sense at all in ignoring that.”
A recommendation to seek funding for a full study into the savings and implications of creating an integrated waste and disposal authority will now be considered by the county council’s decision-making cabinet.
But how far it will proceed will depend on if the district and other councils can be convinced of the benefits of such a scheme.
Bromsgrove and Redditch councils already operate a shared waste collection service on the lowest budget in the county at £1.386million in 2013/14 and officers do not believe any more financial savings can be made by merging into a larger organisation.
Coun Mark Bullivant, whose portfolio covers Environmental Services, said Bromsgrove District Council began looking and imlementing new ways of working which, along with sharing services, had led to savings and efficiencies and helped work towards providing a place for people to live, work and visit that is safer and looks great.
“We have done this work based on local need and data and successful projects emerging from this include optimising our waste collection routes which have seen efficiencies and ensures we give a local service.
“In Bromsgrove alone we collect 156,000 bins each month and on the rare occasion when we miss a couple, we can rectify this immediately.
“This has resulted in us receiving thousands of positive customer remarks about our bin collections.
“A joint authority collection service would take away this local control over service delivery while not guaranteeing any savings so would not be in the best interest of our residents at this stage.”
If anyone needs to report a missed or lost bin the local number is 01527 881188.