RESPONSIBILITY for collecting household rubbish would be stripped from the borough council under an ambitious cost cutting proposal.
A panel of Worcestershire county councillors has recommended exploring the creation of one combined organisation to collect rubbish and recycling and dispose of it. Currently Redditch Borough Council is responsible for collecting waste and Worcestershire County Council for disposing of it.
But the panel believe combining both services, along with collections run by the five other district councils, would not only save money but allow co-ordinated campaigns around recycling and other waste issues.
A similar system operates in Somerset and saved authorities in the area about £1.7million a year.
It currently costs £57million a year to dispose of waste in Worcestershire and Herefordshire and the costs are increasing due to rising taxes on burying rubbish in landfill sites.
However district councils are likely to oppose the move as they offered little to no co-operation with the review.
Coun Ken Pollock, chair of the review panel, said he believed the reluctance was due in part to the fact there was a strong link between rubbish collection, the identity of district councils and residents, which would be broken if they lost responsibility for the service.
But Coun Paul Denham, a member of the panel, added: “If it’s possible to save money by combining services, there’s no sense at all in ignoring that.”
A recommendation to seek funding for a full study into the savings and implications of creating an integrated waste and disposal authority will now be considered by the county council’s decision-making cabinet.
But how far it will proceed will depend on if the borough and other district councils can be convinced of the benefits of such a scheme.
Redditch and Bromsgrove councils already operate a shared waste collection service on the lowest budget in the county at £1.386million in 2013/14 and officers do not believe any more financial savings can be made by merging into a larger organisation.
Coun Debbie Taylor, responsible for environment on the council, said: “It would almost certainly mean contracting out our waste service as part of a wider collection and disposal contract.
“Not only would this mean losing a certain amount of local control over service delivery – meaning the service would become less tailored to Redditch residents – it would also mean other frontline operational services would become less efficient.
“We always strive to do what is in the best interests of our residents and the benefits of our current position in terms of savings, efficiency and locality, at the moment outweigh those of a joint authority.”
The service costs £38.94 per Redditch resident, the second lowest behind Wyre Forest, and is £18.90 cheaper than Malvern Hills which is the most expensive provider at £57.43 per person.