A SHOCK return to weekly rubbish collections is on the horizon - despite Worcester City Council threatening to resist a legal requirement to reinstate them.

Local government secretary Eric Pickles has revealed he is considering forcing councils to relaunch weekly black bin pick-ups.

But the move - which would benefit around nearly 100,000 households in Worcester and Wychavon - would lumber taxpayers with bill in excess of £1 million.

In Worcester, where weekly rubbish rounds were dumped in 2005, the council's leadership says cuts would need to be made to other services in order to revert back.

It insists that over the last nine years people in the city have got used to alternating waste and recycling pick-ups, and that there is no need to change.

Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader, said: "We've got no plans to change anything to our waste collections.

"We've got a well-established scheme which has boosted recycling rates and broadly speaking, I think most people are happy with it.

"When it was changed (in 2005) there were issues with it, as there always is with big change, but I don't think that's the case now.

"If we have to change it due to new legislation there would be a cost and we'd need to pay for it by making reductions in other areas.

"Our argument is that we already collect weekly now, but one of those collections is for recycling and the other general rubbish."

His stance puts the council at odds with Mr Pickles, who says the widespread scrapping of weekly rubbish pick-ups has encouraged rats, left rotting waste to stink during warm spells and proved unpopular with taxpayers.

The city council says it spends £1.2 million collecting black and green bins every year.

It last looked at the implications of re-instating weekly rubbish collections for its 40,000 households four years ago and it was estimated at £940,000 at the time.

The most recent city council survey found 83 per cent were either 'very' or 'fairly satisfied' with the current system.

Mr Pickles says around half of all UK councils have now dumped weekly rubbish rounds.

Relations with councils over it have become even more tense, and it reached a head last month when Bury Council announced it would collect waste once every three weeks from October.

The only district council of the three in South Worcestershire not to be affected by any changes would be Malvern, as the town has always retained its weekly service.

A statement from Mr Pickles said: "One option being considered by the Conservatives is the introduction of a minimum service standard, which would reinstate the previous legal requirement for councils to collect rubbish weekly.

"The Government will continue standing up for hard-working people who deserve a decent bin service."