A COUNCIL leader has insisted that residents will need to decide what service gets cut instead if Basildon’s new bin collection scheme is reverted.

The rollout of the new bin collections has been branded a disaster by residents and the council has already agreed to change some elements but refused to fully revert the scheme despite a 2,600-strong petition.

Introducing black wheelie bins and additional recycling sacks cost the council millions, and Kevin Blake, councillor response for the environment has previously stated it would be too costly to change back.

At a cabinet meeting on Thursday, where councillors agreed the new budget, council leader Andrew Baggott warned “other services would be cut”, if the bin scheme was scrapped.

He said: “This talk about a weekly collection, if you are recycling and using waste streams currently, there is very little residual that goes into the waste, that doesn’t warrant a weekly collection.

“If people want to go back to black sacks, then what I would like to hear from people who think that is the right way to go, is which services do they want us to cut?

“Every time someone throws out a black bag, that hasn’t got the appropriate waste in it, is costing the council money, meaning it is costing residents money.

“We are doing our very best to ensure that we run a tight ship, a fiscally sound council and we balance our books.”

Residents have repeatedly complained about rubbish lining the streets and becoming an unsightly mess since the bin scheme was introduced in November.

Mr Baggot insisted the bin collections, which included switching to fortnightly collections, was necessary to meet environmental targets and help balance the budget.

At the meeting, the budget was agreed and will now go to full council, including a proposed 2.98 per cent council tax rise.

Mr Baggott added: “We understand the pressure local people are feeling as we continue to tackle a number of financial challenges.

“The council is not immune to these challenges, and we need to make some difficult decisions to best serve our whole community.

“I am pleased we are able to agree this robust budget for the year ahead – protecting the services that matter most to you.”