South Norfolk Council falls short over recycling targets

A district council defended its record on recycling following concern about the impact of cost cutting measures on wheelie bin collection services.

Leaders at South Norfolk Council said four years ago that they wanted to be the best in the country for recycling.

But a cabinet member yesterday said the council was taking a more 'realistic' approach after questions were raised about how the authority will cut about �800,000 from its waste collection and recycling services.

The council, which currently recycles almost 39pc of all household rubbish, aims to hit a 40pc target, but lags behind the likes of Broadland District Council (49.4pc) and Breckland Council (41.7pc). The council's waste and recycling service also costs �43.72 per household per year compared to the �26.11 of Breckland and �27.33 of Broadland.

Opposition members accused the Conservative-controlled council of being 'complacent' after calling in a cabinet decision to approve a review of its waste services. The authority is looking to make efficiencies by reviewing its collection routes, tendering its garden waste treatment service, and reviewing and promoting its chargeable services.

Liberal Democrat Trevor Lewis called on the council to look into a food waste collection scheme in its more urban areas and major towns to help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.

He added: 'Do we still want to be the best or not?'

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Keith Kiddie, portfolio holder for public protection and development control, said recycling rates had been hit by the recession and the reduction in the weight of packaging.

'I think we are being realistic. Our current recycling rate is 39pc which has gone up and we are moving in the right direction and we must endeavour to do better.'

'The national average for recycling is 39.7pc and we are almost at that and hopefully with this efficiency review, we would hope to get more,' he said.

Andy Jarvis, head of environmental services, added that the council's garden waste collection service had a 92pc satisfaction rating amongst customers.

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