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Food waste bins would cost Worcester taxpayers £1m
TAXPAYERS in Worcester will be lumbered with a bill of nearly £1 million if extra bin collections are launched for food waste, it has emerged.
A new in-house city council report has been published spelling out the full costs of giving households in the Faithful City a third bin for unwanted food.
The council will have to spend £973,000 just to get it off the ground, which would include £50,000 on a PR charm offensive to encourage people to take it seriously.
Eight new vehicles for the city-wide collections will take up £560,000 of the bill, and £118,000 on 40,000 bins.
The report, which stays broadly neutral on whether Worcester’s politicians should give it the green light, also says another £544,000 will need to be found every year in recurring costs like fuel and staffing.
Your Worcester News can also reveal how a crunch recommendation will be made tomorrow on whether to scrap the idea or progress it to the next stage.
The scrutiny committee will be asked to form a view for the Labour-led cabinet, which will then have to make a final decision.
The report says there is “no conclusive evidence” to suggest any savings could be made from food waste pick-ups, but that “several councils in Europe” have managed to do so.
It does warn that “it is important to consider the economic climate” in making a decision, with £3.5m needing to be cut from spending by 2019, a record amount.
In south Worcestershire the only council to offer food waste collections in Wychavon, which has decided to axe it in January due to the £500,000 annual costs.
The report says just 19 per cent of Wychavon households actively use it, and that staff there believe the economic doldrums have led to less food going to waste.
In Wychavon 39 per cent of householders used the service as recently as 2009, with officers saying the recession led to people being more careful about supermarket purchases.
The idea of launching it in Worcester has come from Councillor Neil Laurenson, from the Green Party, who is adamant it can help the public, council and environment.
Supporters of the project say reducing food waste going to landfill would help bring down crippling taxes which hit £9.8m across Worcestershire and Herefordshire last year.
Coun Laurenson said: “Obviously I wanted every part of the report to point us in the direction of adopting food waste collections, but I have to acknowledge (council) officers are more restricted financially than they were five years ago.
“I would have liked more of the financial benefits to go into it, but I’m looking at it optimistically and it will be interesting to see what people say.”
The scrutiny committee will meet at 7pm at the Guildhall.
* Do you want a new caddie for food waste collections in Worcester? Can the city afford it - and would you make use of it? Leave your responses below or email email@example.com.
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