Fortnightly household general bin collections are set to be introduced across the Horsham district.
The move is expected to save Horsham District Council £730,000 a year at the same time as bringing in a new fleet of rear-loading bin lorries, which is set to save the authority another £270,000 a year.
Although the Horsham district has the highest recycling rate in West Sussex, it is about five per cent short of the 50 per cent national recycling target it has to reach by 2020 and the council is anticipating that reducing general waste collections to every two weeks will increase their recycling rates.
A second smaller recycling bin will be available for a £5 delivery charge, as will free recycling bags.
Garden waste and recycling bins will both continue be collected every fortnight under the Alternative Weekly Collections system and is identical to the arrangements already in place in Mid Sussex and Chichester.
However, the green waste charge is set to increase from April 2017, up £2 a year for first bins and £5 a year for additional bins.
The changes are not due to come in until the spring of 2018 as the new fleet of rear-loading bin lorries will take about nine months to procure, while a Government grant to maintain weekly collections ends in late 2017.
Crew numbers would be roughly similar but the new vehicles would only need one driver rather than the current two. The council also struggles to employ an adequate number of HGV drivers.
The rear-loading vehicles would use the same bins and the council would save money on maintenance and repairs as the new lorries will be ‘significantly cheaper’ to operate, while the fleet size would also be reduced.
Ray Dawe (Con, Chantry), leader of HDC, confirmed they would not be consulting on the changes as they have held briefings with all councillors, who ‘overwhelmingly support the changes’, adding: “This is nothing revolutionary or unusual.”
Roy Cornell (Con, Roffey South), HDC’s cabinet member for waste, recycling, and cleansing, said: “Waste and recycling collection is one of the most high profile and highly valued services provided by the council and we are extremely proud to have the highest recycling rate in West Sussex, but we must continue to strive to do better.
“The council is under considerable pressure to increase levels of recycling and minimise the volume of waste send for disposal.
“It is, therefore, important we continue to develop the service our neighbours and Chichester and Mid Sussex are already offering.
“We want to encourage more people to recycle whilst managing the unprecedented Government cuts to our budget. By moving to an alternative weekly collection system, we will save Horsham around £1m a year, and increase our recycling rate.”
Mr Cornell added: “It’s something we have put a lot of hard work into. We have not just come to this conclusion with the flick of a finger. It’s a process we have thought very deeply about.”
The council is also proposing an increase to the green waste charge, which was introduced back in 2013, from April 2017. Earlier this year the charges were increased, and now HDC is proposing a further rise, up from £35 to £37 for those paying online or by direct debit, and from £37.50 to £39.50 to those paying by post or through the council’s contact centre. The fee for an extra green waste bin is set to rise from £20 to £25.
Mr Cornell explained: “Even with these relatively small increases the garden waste collection service remains one of the cheapest in the UK and is significantly less than neighbouring councils.”
The changes are due to be discussed by HDC’s Cabinet on Thursday November 24.
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