FURIOUS residents slammed the axeing of bin collections at hundreds of rural homes at a packed public meeting last night.

Almost 700 households across Rossendale now have to take their rubbish up to two miles to designated collection points.

People spoke out at a specially-arranged residents’ meeting in Marl Pits, Rawtenstall.

Resident Alan Walker chaired the meeting, organised by a newly-formed group calling itself ‘DIY Binmen’.

He said: “People don’t want to see bags of rubbish on the side of the road from 700 farms.

“We think this is discriminatory against people who have chosen to live in rural areas.

"We’re paying some of the highest council tax rates in the country.”

Paul and Janet Walsh, who live in a lane with 12 properties affected by the plans, said a proper consultation had not taken place.

Mrs Walsh said: “We need to get this decision suspended, ie. stop, go back to the drawing board and do a full review.”

The residents are being backed by Jake Berry, Rossendale and Darwen MP, who said the move to axe the collections should be scrapped immediately.

He said: “I am fundamentally opposed to these proposals.

"While cost savings are necessary in this economy, leaving one section of the community to fend for themselves when it comes to rubbish collection is an appalling approach to the problem.

“The residents have spoken out against these dreadful plans and we have started a petition to stop them going ahead.”

Campaigners fear the cost-cutting exercise will lead to an increase in fly-tipping, make the borough look untidy, and discourage civic pride.

There will be no reduction in council tax for those homes affected.

Last week, 450 households went live with the changes, with the remaining 250 properties expected to adopt the scheme in the next six weeks.

The action is expected to save £92,000 and forms part of the £2.6m savings the council has to make over the next three years.