PLANS to roll out fortnightly waste collections in Wiltshire this month are unlikely to change following the announcement by the government that it was putting up £250 million to help councils bring back a weekly service.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said householders had a basic right to have their rubbish taken away weekly.

The scheme, funded by savings in his own department, would be available only to councils that guaranteed weekly collections for five years and demonstrated improvements in recycling.

However his announcement, which came at a time came in for heavy criticism from opposition politicians and recycling campaigners who suggested it would damage recycling rates and that the money could be better spent on other services that were being cut.

When the Standard spoke to Toby Sturgis cabinet member for waste at Conservative-controlled Wiltshire Council he said the full details of the proposals had not yet been made clear, but they were not likely to change the authority’s immediate plans.

“The grant is only for two years as I understand it. At the end of the two years we would have to bear the cost of it all.”

He said residents had been consulted and there was strong support for the cardboard and plastic recycling collections that were being brought in county-wide. “It has been well tried in Salisbury and recycling rates have gone up.”

The new collections were aimed at reducing the landfill tax bill that had shot up from £8 a ton to £80.

“We are paying millions of pounds in landfill tax,” he said.

Wiltshire Council’s new waste service will harmonise the collection systems it inherited from the four district level councils when it was created More than £3million is expected to be cut from the landfill tax bill over the next two years.