Mr Neill pledged that the Government will be legislating in November’s Localism Bill to allow local residents to initiate local referendums.
The Government is currently carrying out a comprehensive review of all waste policy from product package to waste collection. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has already withdrawn Audit Commission guidance encouraging councils to switch to fortnightly collections and laid out plans to remove the bin tax laws from the statute books.
Mr Neill met refuse collectors on their collection round in Joydens Wood and spoke to some of the residents who voted to keep weekly collections in the ‘Big Bin Vote’.
Mr Neill said:
"The binman has never been so welcome as now with so many councils cutting weekly collections. Fortnightly collections cause problems with fly-tipping, odour and vermin as well as forcing people to drive to their local dump to get rid of their rubbish, increasing congestion and pollution from the traffic.
"It’s good to see here in Dartford the council listens to local people and keeps the weekly bin collections they value. It was fantastic to meet the refuse collectors who are doing such an important job as well and hear directly from residents.
"I hope other Councils will follow Dartford’s example in the difficult times ahead as we work together to cut the deficit and listen to local people about what services matter the most."
The council received further praise for publicly ruling out the practice of ‘bin snooping’ – secretive bin searches to find out what the public are throwing away. Ministers believe the best way to encourage responsible waste disposal is to incentivise recycling rather than punish families with taxes, and reward them for going green.
Environment Ministers have axed the funding for ‘pilot’ schemes for the bin taxes. Under the bin tax laws, once a pilot scheme had been introduced, it could be rolled out across the country without a substantive vote in Parliament.
With council finances due to be tightened as the Government tackles reducing the deficit, Ministers are urging councils to increase their use of local referendums to find out what services people want to protect.
The coalition Government set out plans in its Programme for Government to encourage the use of local referendums on any local issue.
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