RAMSBOTTOM’s local authority is set to become the first in England to collect general waste every three weeks after a crunch vote by Bury Council.

Town hall bosses have approved the change from grey household collections every two weeks to every three, despite heated debates about public health and flytipping at the meeting.

Councillors also agreed to increase recycling collections from every three weeks to fortnightly.

The new system will be implemented in the second week in October.

Brian Bamford, secretary of Bury Unite, the main union representing refuse collectors, was worried about the impact of ‘side waste’ where extra rubbish is left next to bins because it does not fit inside.

He said: “Side waste is already an ongoing and very serious problem for bin men and for public health, and overflowing grey bins which are only collected every three weeks is going to make it worse.

“Bury Council will rely more than ever on the street cleaners, putting strain on other services.”

Coun Susan Southworth, deputy cabinet member for the environment, said: “Understandably, there has been a lot of interest in these plans since they were made public, and people have been voicing their concerns or support.

“Some have asked how the proposed new collection system will work for them, and I hope that the list we have compiled will answer most of those.

“One of the most asked questions has been from residents who have large families, and want to know if they can apply for an extra grey bin.

“The answer is yes. We will continue to offer large families the chance to apply for a second grey bin if they can show they are recycling everything they can and still need extra bin space. For households with extra recycling we can also provide extra recycling bins.

“Another frequently raised topic was whether people would have enough space in their bins.

“Under the new system, the total weekly bin space residents will have across all their bins will not change. Across all four bins, the space will stay the same as it is now.

“Not so many years ago, Bury residents had only one bin for all their household waste.”