By Rosa Prince of the Daily Telegraph.
Only special containers for food waste and recyclable material such as paper, cardboard and glass will be collected weekly from outside homes.
Councils hope that the move will encourage residents to recycle more, reducing the amount of waste dumped in landfill sites, where it is taxed by the ton. Taxpayers will face fines if they do not place their rubbish in the correct bins.
Polls show that nearly three quarters of householders are opposed to having “black bag” rubbish collected fortnightly.’
There are fears that the change will lead to a rise in fly-tipping and problems with vermin and bad smells in summer.
Guidance signalling the end of weekly bin collections has been sent to councils by the Audit Commission, the local authority spending watchdog.
Critics claimed that the move would leave a “nation of mini-landfill sites on our doorsteps”.
At present, less than half of local authorities empty bins on a fortnightly basis.
Councils have been ordered by the Government to find £550 million in savings from waste disposal budgets to cope with the pressures of the recession.
It is estimated that households in England pay an average of £82 a year for bin collections out of an average £1,175 council tax bill.
While the Audit Commission insisted that it was a matter for individual authorities to decide the frequency of bin collections, it said that councils which failed to show that they had considered fortnightly schemes would be given poor inspection reports. The commission can refuse to sign off a council’s finances if it is not abiding by directives.
The Conservatives, who uncovered the guidance after a series of parliamentary questions, claimed that it amounted to “bullying” by central government.
Caroline Spelman, the shadow local government secretary, said: “Central government bodies have been caught red-handed cajoling and pressuring councils into making cuts to weekly bin collections. This destroys the Whitehall claim that rubbish collection policies are a local decision.”
Doretta Cocks, of the Campaign for Weekly Waste Collection, said: “I’ve lost count of the number of parents with young families who have said how disgusting it is to have nappies piling up in their bin for 13 or 14 days at a time. As well as a health hazard, it is simply undemocratic to ignore the wishes of local people who want weekly collections.”
A spokesman for the Department for the Environment said: “Councils should work with their local communities to determine what waste collection arrangements are most appropriate for where they live.”