Government minister Eric Pickles should know that Sefton's fortnightly bin collection has helped save us residents £1 million on our council tax ! That's because it has boosted our recycling rate and saved the soaring cost of rubbish dumped in landfill. To go back to weekly would cost £7 million, according to a report produced by the council's finance director.

In opposition, Mr Pickles was the Tory leading cheerleader for the Daily Mail, Express and Telegraph - media all against fortnightly collections - even though more than half of the councils in the country use the system and the top recycling local authorities all use it.

Now, as reported in the media, even though he is a government minister and should now know the real facts, he has controversially put pressure on the Audit Commission - the government's financial watchdog - to withdraw its guidance notes for councils which confirm that fortnightly refuse collection makes financial sense.

In all his media rantings in the past, Mr Pickles has significantly failed to point out that many of the councils that still provide a weekly service only have half-size small wheelie bins, which means that people are "forced" to recycle because the wheelies simply aren't big enough !  

Weekly refuse collection locally would result in a drop in our recycling rate, now around 40 per cent, because lots of people would just put everything into the grey wheelie bin, rather than take the extra time and trouble to separate materials.  This would increase the cost of getting rid of bin waste.  The landfill tax, which is a very attractive "green" earner for our cash-strapped government, is currently £48 a tonne and goes up £8 a tonne every year.  On top of this is the cost of transport to the landfill site where the owners charge a gate fee per tonne.

The amount of waste that Sefton sends to landfill is around 100,000 tonnes per annum.  Do your own sums !   How a government minister can seriously suggest wasting council tax payers money by still sticking to his ill-informed campaign beggars belief.

The full text of the internal Audit Commision's guidance notes which Mr Pickles has told them to change can be seen as a link on the local blog.  Just Google Birkdale Blog.  These notes are excellent and demonstrate clearly the complexities of waste.