HEREFORDSHIRE Council could have applied for funding in 2012 to maintain a weekly general waste collection – but chose not to.

The local authority this week confirmed it did not apply for funding from the Weekly Collection Support Scheme which shared £250m across local councils for a weekly service.

The news comes in the same week as almost 80,000 postcards were delivered to Herefordshire homes – telling people that their general waste will be collected every fortnight from November.

The controversial decision to move to alternate weekly collections –with general waste collected one week and recycling the next – is expected to save around £500,000 a year.

And from August 4 until the end of October, black bins will be distributed to households around the county.

But the move has been met with criticism, and Paul Pikes, a semi-retired archaeologist and historian from Hereford believes council tax payers have been “let down”.

“They have let all tax payers in the county down by not applying for this money,” he said.

“I think the main issue is that most people don’t want their food waste hanging round for two weeks. It’s government policy that it’s collected weekly.

There has been no consultation and Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, said he considered it a human right that food waste was collected weekly.

Mr Pikes, 66, lives in a flat in Hereford city centre and currently stores his food waste in the kitchen bin until the end of the week, and keeps his recycling elsewhere.

While that system currently works for him, he said fortnightly collections would prove “difficult”.

Responding to questions from the Hereford Times, Herefordshire Council said the cost of distributing postcards was £10,912.

And once alternate weekly collections are implemented, around 75,000 miles are expected to be saved per year along with a cost savings because routes have been “optimised” to increase efficiency.

Individual circumstances will be taken into account and assessments carried out if larger bins are requested.