The leader of St Helens Conservatives has renewed calls to scrap plans to introduce three-weekly brown bin collections after it was revealed a proposed trial had been put on hold.
On Tuesday new council leader David Baines confirmed new recycling containers will be piloted in the town centre later this year as part of a revised weekly service.
But it was also revealed that the controversial three-weekly brown bin collections will not form part of the pilot, as originally planned, and would instead be “paused”.
St Helens Tory leader Allan Jones believes Coun Baines has taken on board comments he made at last month’s annual council meeting, where he called for the Labour leader to “abolish” the plans.
Following the announcement, Coun Jones said: “I am pleased that the leader of the council has started to listen to the points I made at the last full council meeting regarding brown bin collections.
“If the leader of the council is really serious about listening to the people then Coun Baines will not just pause the three-weekly brown bin collections, he will scrap them altogether. I call on him to do so.”
In response, Coun Baines has accused Labour’s opponents of trying to make “cheap political points”.
He stressed that the council’s goal is to increase recycling rates, but admitted it was “wrong” to ask residents to do that without the right tools to do it.
Coun Baines said if the council provides residents with the right tools and knowledge, there can be “be no excuse not to recycle”.
If the council does not reach a national 50 per cent target by 2020, it risks the government passing on European Union fines of £750,000.
Currently the recycling rate is 41.5 per cent.
Since January 2019, the council has extended the range of plastics it collects for recycling, which has already had a positive impact on the borough’s recycling rate.
It is hoped the new recycling containers, which will be piloted in the town centre later this year, will improve this further still.
The council will also provide advice and support for residents on how to recycle more.
Coun Baines said: “Our goal as a borough – and as a society – must be to increase household recycling, but it’s wrong to ask residents to do that without the right tools to do it.
“That’s why Labour are now fully committed to introducing new, better containers, and providing the best information and support to residents.
“Some of Labour’s opponents are clearly more keen to make cheap political points for their own gain, or to claim credit for decisions which are nothing to do with them, rather than do what’s best for the environment.
“While our opponents do what’s easy rather than what is right, Labour will continue to focus on what’s best for the environment and on providing residents with the right tools and knowledge so that there can be no excuse not to recycle.”