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Monthly black bin collection plans look set to go ahead

PLANS to introduce monthly black bin collections in Flintshire look set to go ahead in a bid to improve recycling rates.

Flintshire Council is currently facing the threat of fines of more than £1m after missing the Welsh Government target of recycling 64 per cent of the rubbish it collects for the last four financial years.

With the goal set to increase to 70 per cent in 2024/25, the local authority is now planning to only pick up general waste from residents once every four weeks.

Politicians have previously resisted switching from the present fortnightly arrangement due to concerns over how it will impact residents.

However, senior officials have warned change is necessary to avoid further financial penalties.

It comes as a report going to backbench councillors next week shows 13,410 tonnes (58 per cent) of rubbish put in black bins by residents in 2022/23 could have been recycled.

Katie Wilby, Flintshire’s chief officer for streetscene and transportation, said the proposed reduction in the frequency of collections was needed with government fine levels expected to increase.

In the report, she said: “We have continually reported that the council faces significant fines for not achieving the statutory recycling targets during 2021/22 and 2022/23.

“The fines for missing the targets over these two financial years equate to more than £1million.

“Following the 2023/24 end-of-year reporting, it is known that Flintshire has again not achieved the statutory recycling target resulting in the possibility of a further significant financial penalty.

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“From April 2024, the target has now increased to 70 per cent and the council faces further fines per annum, based on current recycling levels, which could exceed £1million annually.”

The council carried out a modelling exercise earlier this year looking at three options for the future of waste services.

They included moving to either three or four weekly collections, as well as sticking to the fortnightly arrangement, but reducing the size of bins from 180 litres to 120.

Ms Wilby said monthly collections would boost recycling rates by an estimated amount of just under six per cent and deliver financial savings of up to £800,000 per year.

She said: “With four weekly residual collections reducing costs and diverting more material from the residual waste stream, this option therefore exhibits the lowest costs and best performance of all the three options.

“With respect to greenhouse gas emissions, it sees the largest emission reduction of 2,045 tonnes Co2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).

“This is predominantly due to the reduction of waste sent to energy from waste facilities.

“It is recommended that this option is progressed and the council transitions to a restricted capacity residual waste collection model.”

The proposals will be considered by members of the council’s environment and economy scrutiny committee when they meet on Tuesday (July 16, 2024).

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