TENTATIVE talks have got underway to see if one massive rubbish and recycling collection service can be launched for the whole of Worcestershire.

Your Worcester News can reveal how an investigation has now kicked off to see if there is any appetite for cash-strapped councils to team up and pool costs.

At the moment all six district councils have their own vehicles, staff and collection arrangements costing the county's taxpayers more than £10 million.

The idea of pooling costs was first raised by Worcestershire County Council's Liberal Democrat and Green parties back in January, when a motion was overwhelmingly backed calling for a review.

At the start of July a panel of councillors came together to kick it off, and from that a range of visits are now being planned to some of the best-performing town halls in the country, such as Somerset and South Oxfordshire, to see if any ideas are worth taking away.

Because all the districts operate separate pick-ups in Worcestershire it has led to wildly different levels of service - for example people in Malvern get weekly rubbish collections, but in Worcester it is fortnightly.

Recycling rates also vary hugely - it has hit 43 per cent of all household waste in Wychavon, but down the road in Malvern it is just 31 per cent.

Councillor Neil Laurenson, a Green politician at Worcester City Council, said: "Each district council has its own needs and what we're doing at this stage is knocking ideas around to see what might be possible.

"The whole point behind it must be that it saves money - everyone at the first meeting seemed keen to explore it in detail and that's what we'll be doing."

Councillor Ken Pollock, a Tory who represents Tenbury at the county council, is chairing it.

He said: "We are very aware the districts regard waste collection as a principle function, how matter how onerous it is.

"But there could be opportunities to pool costs by making management savings, for example.

"At this point it's about looking at the degree the districts might want to work together."