Leeds: 'Councils risk fury over bins chaos'

Leeds City Council has been warned that a failure to collect bins regularly will create an "army of residents" who will view the local authority with "rage" and "resentment".

Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, yesterday delivered a scathing attack on councils which have cut back on rubbish collections.

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The cabinet minister said the scale of public anger over bins going uncollected risked undermining the coalition's "localism" drive of handing over more powers and responsibilities from Whitehall to councils.

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Delivering a keynote speech in London, he said: "Rubbish is the most visible, most frontline service of all, in return for paying 120 a month in council tax.

"If we don't sort this, we will set the cause of localism back by a generation, by creating an army of residents who view their council with resentment rather than respect."

Eleven of the 51 black bin routes in Leeds were axed on October 25 in what was the biggest shake-up of the council's refuse department in more than 20 years.

The changes have caused major disruption to weekly waste collections provided to 335,000 homes.

Between October 25 and December 6 the council received 34,789 calls about refuse and bin routes – up from 14,953 calls for the same period in 2009.

Meanwhile, the YEP revealed earlier this year bizarre details of an extraordinary secret dustbin snooping operation launched by the council.

A private team of contractors was tasked with covertly rifling through the black and green bins of 250 homes in the city to discover the amounts and types of waste being thrown away.

Mr Pickles blamed the previous Labour government for weakening the requirement to collect bins and the Audit Commission for marking down councils which refused to go to fortnightly collections.

He added: "It shouldn't be the job of Secretaries of State to micro manage local services."

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