A MAJOR recycling programme due to start in November has been put back until January, because of a delay in Government funding.

Every household in West Durham is to get a collection box for recycling. But a three-month delay in the £700,000 grant from the Government'sWaste Minimisation and Recycling Fund has put the scheme behind.

The project is a partnership between the district councils of Derwentside, Wear Valley and Teesdale, plus private firms Foreman Recycling and Cory Environmental and environmental group Groundwork West Durham.

Ian Thompson, head of service contracts at Wear Valley District Council, said: "The Government was late in announcing the funding winners by two or three months and that put us back."

And he said the sudden massive increase in demand for the boxes had put a strain on the companies that produce them, leading to a backlog of orders.

"At the moment, the manufacturers cannot keep up with the orders. Companies producing the boxes are working flat out, so we are having to wait."

Each green box, which will take paper, card, cans and glass, is fitted with a unique bar code. This will be scanned every time it is emptied into the collection vehicle.

The system allows the councils to keep track of recycling performance across the districts.

Once it is up and running, the boxes will be collected every fortnight, on the same day as normal rubbish.

Residents should receive a calendar in December, highlighting specific collection weeks. The information will also be on council websites.

The delivery of boxes will begin in January. The scheme will be officially launched in Bishop Auckland in December