Councils will join forces over rubbish services

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WASTE collection services in town could soon be shared with neighbouring authorities in a bid to cut costs.

Councillors from Hastings Borough Council (HBC) have already taken the first step to merging recycling, street cleaning and rubbish collections with Eastbourne, Rother and Wealden District Councils.

The move comes amid rising costs in such services, which are worth more than £3million in Hastings alone.

At a cabinet meeting on Monday, councillors voted to set up a joint waste committee between the authority and neighbouring councils, with the exception of Lewes District Council.

The aim is to eventually have one firm responsible for waste collection across the county as early as 2013.

At the moment Veolia is tasked by HBC to clear rubbish and clean the town’s streets.

Neighbouring towns have their own separate contractors.

Council leader Jeremy Birch said he believed one single contract would lead to substantial savings in light of the current economic downturn.

He said: “Waste services are the most expensive service we run, costing around £3.5million a year.

“Having one contractor for the whole of East Sussex would save a lot of money.

“It would lead to greater economies of scale.

“For example there would only be one waste depot.

“At the moment Hastings has its depot in Bulverhythe and Rother has one in Bexhill under a different contractor.”

Cllr Birch said it would also standardise rubbish collection times. Fairlight, for instance, comes under Rother’s services, which have different collection days to Hastings.

Cllr Birch said the council plans to talk to residents in town similar to its recent Big Conversation survey.

At Monday’s meeting councillors also voted to explore further the proposal to merge its building control services with neighbouring Rother, again to make savings.

This deals with dangerous structures, demolitions and health and safety issues.