Councils must show “more initiative” about how they can maintain refuse collections during the Christmas holiday period, Local Government Minister Bob Neill has said.
He described the piling up of rubbish over the festive period as “disappointing” as it emerged households had gone for up to four weeks without their bins being emptied.
Research by The Daily Telegraph found that, prior to the limited collections during the festive season, many local authorities cancelled services on health and safety grounds when there was heavy snow last month.
Mr Neill told the paper: “We need to think again about how we maintain these basic services over the holiday period.
“People do produce a lot of rubbish over Christmas, and it is disappointing that in some cases councils haven’t shown more initiative about how to ensure people still get the services they pay for.”
The problem has been exacerbated by householders failing to realise that their collection days have been changed and so missing them.
Birmingham was said to be especially troubled by delays to bin collections because of a strike before Christmas.
Kevin Mitchell, Birmingham city council’s assistant director of fleet and waste management, told the Telegraph: “It is a triple whammy. This all happened during Christmas, with three Bank Holidays and 420,000 extra turkey carcasses to collect.”
Haringey council in north London has suggested people should “buy items with minimal packaging to reduce waste”.