BRADFORD Council has attracted criticism after withdrawing a recycling wagon from an inner-city area of Bradford where recycling levels are low.

The move comes just a week after a report revealed 'Community Champions' could be introduced across the district to help drive up recycling rates.

The report will be heard and discussed at a meeting of the environment and waste management overview and scrutiny committee today, at City Hall, where councillors are set to debate 'key questions' including changing people's behaviour by targeting those who don't recycle.

But now it has been revealed that the number of recycling wagons and crews covering the district for the authority will drop from eight to seven - with workers asked to extend their routes and cover more streets.

And one Council worker said the vehicle in question covers areas of Bradford including Manningham and Girlington - places considered hotspots for a lack of recycling.

"Because of cutbacks, they are taking that wagon off and going down to seven," said the worker. "Manningham, Girlington, Thornton - areas that need promoting, they are taking the wagon off."

The worker added: "They are spending £50,000 on new mapping and spreading work out between the other wagons. They are upping workload with less wagons. People will start to not recycle because of it."

The crew from the eighth wagon will be found other jobs within the waste management sector, said the worker.

Councillor Andrew Thornton, the Council's executive member for environment and sport, said: "We closely monitor all of our waste and recycling collections rounds to make sure that they are operating as efficiently as is possible. Taking one recycling vehicle out of operation will not lead to a reduction in the service received by residents, just a reduction in the amount of taxpayers' money spent on delivering the service."

Cllr Martin Love, chairman of the environment and waste management overview and scrutiny committee, said the move could have a mixed impact.

"If these are areas we are trying to improve, it could be that it is sending the wrong message," he said.

But Cllr Love added: "If we have some rounds that are not working efficiently, then as long as they are sure no-one will get a worse service, then that is fair enough."

Keith Thomson, an environmental campaigner in Bradford and a former Labour councillor, said it was a positive step and reckoned it would not reduce the amount of recycling in Bradford.

"They are going to spread the cost of collecting over a smaller number of vehicles," said Mr Thomson. "I think that is probably sensible.

"It is a sensible way of using your resources, although it doesn't address the low level of recycling in Bradford - but it isn't attempting to do that.

"There is scope for improving the recycling but this is not related to that, and it will not reduce the recycling."

He added: "I think they are doing a sensible thing. They have decided that the resource they are putting into recycling is being underused."