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Residents divided over the recycling timetable

Residents of Richmond upon Thames are ready to be forced to recycle but are less certain about how regularly waste collections should take place, a recent survey has indicated.

The survey, carried out between June and August 2006, asked more than 1,300 residents for their views on kerbside collections for recycling being extended to include cardboard and plastic bottles.

Of those surveyed, 72 per cent of respondents believed residents should be made to recycle, while only 22 per cent disagreed.

Richmond upon Thames Council is one of the top recycling authorities in London. It currently diverts more than 33 per cent of household refuse from landfill and has set ambitious targets for the next four years.

Opinion was more evenly balanced on the question of possibly moving residual waste collection (what is left after recycling) from weekly to fortnightly with 54 per cent against and 40 per cent in favour.

Commenting on the results Councillor Martin Elengorn, cabinet member for environment, said: "This latest result is very encouraging. We are doing well at present with rates in excess of 30 per cent but, if we are to get on a par with some of our European neighbours, we need to double this figure. It will take time but it can be done.

"I would like our council to become an example throughout the UK but we can only achieve this with the support of our residents.

"These latest results indicate we have this support and that is very encouraging.

"Opinion on the question of fortnightly collections of residual waste is less clear-cut and I understand people's concerns in this area. We are still consulting and at present all options remain open. However, we will continue to drive up our recycling levels and on that I am delighted to see we have clear support from residents."

Cllr David Marlow, Conservative deputy leader, has insisted that the council listens to the view of local residents.

He said: "In a recent council-selected survey, 54 per cent of residents demanded the retention of weekly collection. Residents are rightly worried that there would be a dangerous increase in vermin if collections were only once a fortnight.

"There is clear support for recycling but this could well decline if they press on with this cut in refuse collection.

"It is essential that the council carries residents with them if recycling is to increase at the same rate of more than 75 per cent achieved by the last Conservative council.

"The Liberals must stop prevaricating and bring in plastics and cardboard recycling as previously planned - but without cutting other refuse services."

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