CALLS for recycling bags to be replaced by heavier wheelie bins have been rejected.

Heavy winds have caused the bags to empty their contents, leaving litter strewn across streets and neighbourhoods.

Angry residents bombarded Hyndburn Council with complaints, demanding the introduction of wheelie bins, Rishton councillor Ken Moss said.

He said six new recycling trucks were not able to collect waste from wheelie bins, and a new scheme would cost millions.

He said: “Any change could only take place after [the trucks] are replaced in six years, unless the council took the hit on the cost of new vehicles before that date.

“If we were to go with wheeled bins, then each property would have to have a minimum of two extra bins, with an estimated cost of £1.5 million.

“In addition, the vehicles needed to lift wheeled bins are different.

“We would need four, which would cost around £650,000.

“Mixing the recycling together would affect the income we currently receive for keeping it separate. This is unknown as we would need to find an outlet that could split the materials apart, and this would lead to an estimated £50,000-plus loss of income every year.”

Coun Moss said money from the Lancashire County Council would also be at risk, which could cost a further £60,000.

He added: “Broken down, this equates to an initial start-up cost of approximately £2.15m with annual cost of £110,000, plus further staff costs for extra crews.

“At this time, the council could not afford to absorb this and the extra cost in lost revenue alone is higher than could be raised in taxes.

“Council tax rises are currently capped at two per cent, and such a move to combined recycling would require a tax rise of between 15 and 20 per cent.”

Cabinet member for environmental services, Paul Cox, said: “Although combined recycling is extremely desirable, we just cannot afford to do it with the severity of the cuts being imposed by central government.

“This is only going to get worse in the coming years so, unfortunately, the current system will remain in place for the foreseeable future."

The council also confirmed it would not restore weekly bin collections, after communities secretary Eric Pickles warned councils that didn’t do so could face further funding cuts.

Just one local authority — out of 216 — has reverted to weekly collections, and Hyndburn Council said the annual cost of doing so would exceed £500,000.