WEEKLY bin collections have been protected in north-east Essex after councils netted nearly £3million in Government funding.

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The cash injection removes the threat of households in Colchester and Tendring moving to fortnightly collections for around five years.

The money, awarded by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), will also see food waste collections rolled out to all residents.

Colchester Borough Council (CBC), which was given £2.35m, will also use the money to encourage householders to recycle more.

Figures released by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for 2011/12 show Colchester recycles or composts 39.9% of its waste, compared with Tendring’s figure of 28%.

Councillor Martin Hunt, CBC’s portfolio holder for street and waste services, said: “It is great news that Colchester has secured funding from the DCLG to help us further support residents to recycle more.

“Following our successful food waste collection trial the funding will help us roll out this service to all households and maintain weekly rubbish collections for at least five years.”

Tendring District Council (TDC), which was given £624,500, introduced weekly food waste collections in April.

Nick Turner, TDC’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “This funding means that we will be able to offer more to our residents who have already responded well to the changes we have brought in and will encourage them to help bring about a further rise in recycling rates. Some took longer than others to adjust and we are very grateful to people for embracing the new system which is proving to be both environmentally-friendly and saves taxpayers money.”

Colchester and Tendring were two of 85 councils to benefit from a £250m Government scheme to encourage weekly bin collections.

In recent years many councils have moved away from weekly collections. They have argued alternate weekly collections for household and recyclable items was more efficient.

But last week Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said there was no “plausible reason” why some councils had fortnightly collections.

Mike Jones, chairman of the Local Government Association’s environment board, said: “What matters most to people is that their waste is collected in a reliable, efficient way which allows them to recycle easily. This can be achieved in different ways, depending on local circumstances. For some homes, alternate weekly collections would not be suitable. But many who do have their non-recyclable waste collected fortnightly are happy with that arrangement.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution – something which DCLG has acknowledged through the sheer variety of council schemes it has awarded funding.”

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