PLANS to revise rubbish collections in Darlington have been given the go-ahead by councillors.

The change to a fortnightly refuse collection was tonight (Tuesday, January 7) approved by members at a meeting of Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet and is expected to save the authority £400,000 a year.

From October, an alternate weekly collection service will see general waste collected one week, and recycling waste picked up the second.

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Under the new scheme, the majority of residents in the borough will split their waste between two wheelie bins – the existing bin for general waste and another for recycling, with a built in caddy for paper and card, as well the current box for glass.

Around 8,500 properties will not receive a second wheelie bin as the wagon for recycling collections will be too big to access the back lanes.

Instead these properties will receive a second box for recyclables, including plastics, cans, metals and cartons, in addition to the existing box for glass and bag for paper and card.

The move comes months after wheelie bins were introduced in Darlington for the first time, which caused controversy among some residents.

Speaking at the meeting, Councillor Chris McEwan, cabinet member for economy and regeneration said: “I have yet to hear one of my residents complaining about wheelie bins.

"In fact a lot of them have said thank you for bringing us into the 21st century.”

Councillor Heather Scott, Conservative group leader for the authority and Park West ward member, said she has repeatedly raised concerns about bins not being returned properly once they have been emptied.

She also questioned whether people had the time or inclination to separate and clean their rubbish before putting it in the correct recycling bin.

“If we cannot even get them to put the wheelie bins in the right place, how on earth are we going to get them to wash things so that they can be recycled,” she said.

Approving the plans, councillors agreed that more education is needed to ensure people use their bins correctly and do not leave them blocking pavements.

Councillor Nick Wallis, cabinet member for leisure and local environment, said: “This is a service that runs in many local authorities, not just in the North-East but across the UK.

“We have to make sure this new system meets the needs of the majority of residents and in my opinion this scheme does.”