SOUTH Essex councils have united and assured residents they won’t be hit with a controversial bin tax – nor will rubbish collections move to once a fortnight.

The Government wants households to pay according to how much rubbish they make and believe bi-monthly collections are the way forward.

Malcolm Buckley, leader of Basildon Council, said: “As far as we’re concerned, we want to encourage people to recycle more, we’re not there to fine people.

“If you say to people they have to pay to take their waste away, then they will start finding other places to dump their rubbish and we could have a problem with fly-tipping.

“Going to a fortnightly waste collection is not even something we would contemplate doing. We are committed to keeping weekly waste collection.”

Ian Robertson, in charge of waste collection at Southend Council, said: “We’re not going to move away from weekly collection because that’s what our residents want.”

He also assured residents the council would object to any Government plans to start charging people depending on how much rubbish they left out.

He said “I think it would be an administrative nightmare to work out and it would probably cost more to collect the fines than it would to collect the rubbish.

“We keep it simple here and provide a service residents feel comfortable with.”

Ray Howard, cabinet member for the environment at Castle Point Council, said the council had no immediate plans to change their collection methods.

However, he did say it wouldn not rule out making homeowners pay if they produced excessive amounts of rubbish in the future.

He said: “We have got to recycle and although I wouldn’t consider introducing bin taxes at this time, if people are going to create waste unfairly then it is something we will need to look into.”