BASINGSTOKE and Deane continues to be one of the worst performing local authorities in Britain for recycling.

Annual figures published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) show the amount of waste sent for recycling composting or reuse between April 2012 and March 2013 rose to 25 per cent from last year’s figure of 23.95 per cent.

Despite the small amount of progress, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council ranks as the 21st worst of 352 authorities across the country when it comes to recycling.

Last year, the borough council was named the 10th worst authority in the country and second worst in the county, only finishing behind unitary authority, Southampton.

Former Basingstoke and Deane Mayor Councillor Martin Biermann, one of the borough’s keenest environmental campaigners, told The Gazette that the borough council must do better despite the small improvement.

He said: “I don’t feel that we can relax – I still think the figure is pretty disgraceful. We really shouldn’t be so low and there are wonderful opportunities to do better than we are now.

“Therefore, we have got to get our act together.

“Hart, apart from being one of the best places to live, can teach us some things about waste collection, and perhaps we should learn from what they can achieve.

“If they can do it, I can’t see a reason why we can’t. But I am not specifically saying that we should go to alternative waste collections (where bins are collected fortnightly, alternating with recycling collections to encourage people to use their green bins).”

Cabinet member for environment and climate change, Councillor Robert Donnell, told The Gazette: “Some of the highest recycling councils are the ones which do not have a weekly bin collection. The people of Basingstoke want to keep the weekly collection.

“If you go round the housing estates, such as in my ward, Winklebury, they do not want to have their bins taken every two weeks, and that is being picked up on by the rest of the country.

“It is about getting everyone to recycle what we can, and it is about maintaining services and the weekly bin collection.”

Cllr Donnell also hailed initiatives set up by the borough council.

He said: “In the last year, we have introduced glass kerbside recycling. It has been a massive success and residents love it. The amount of glass that has been collected has gone through the roof, and it is a very popular service.

“The Christmas tree recycling scheme is also very successful, and every year we have lots of different locations to recycle them.”

He added: “Overall, we have a new and exciting educational initiative which will see us run competitions around schools, and that’s in the planning stages.”

The best performing authority in Hampshire continues to be Eastleigh, with a recycling rate of 40 per cent.