PLANS to implement a town-wide wheelie bin policy will not be forced on everyone.

This was the message from Swindon Council's cabinet as it ratified its new waste management plans at the Civic Offices last night.

Under proposals, the majority of residents will see general waste collection cut from weekly to once a fortnight, while recyclables will be collected every week in a bid to meet government landfill reduction targets and avoid £2m a year in fines and levies.

But the scheme will only be rolled out to households where it is "practical" and that could see many residents living in terraced properties receiving a weekly bag collection service.

"We will not be forcing wheelie bins on people," said Swindon Council's cabinet member for local environment David Wren.

"If there are areas and houses where wheelie bins are not suitable a bag collection service will continue to be provided.

"We are not expecting people to put wheelie bins in their houses and we will not be telling them to put them in front gardens if they don't have a front garden - wheelie bins where it is practical, black bags where it is not practical."

Coun Wren also told the meeting that there were no plans to fit wheelie bins with electronic tags similar to those used by Kennet District Council.

But proposals to issue fines to people who do not comply with the recycling side of the scheme remain.

The cabinet also heard how the town could have a new recycling depot and better recycling facilities in car parks in years to come as the council continues to turn green.

This week the Adver launched its Time To Change campaign in an effort to show how we can all play our part in saving the planet including recycling.

And just a day after announcing Swindon Council's climate change action plan, council leader Roderick Bluh hailed the waste management strategy as one to be proud of.

He said: "An awful lot of work has gone into this strategy. We have come up with one of the best recycling schemes in the country and, given that we have it, we will make sure it works.

"There is a lot of cabinet commitment behind this and we are not going to fail."

The council has predicted that without its new waste management strategy, the cost of disposing the town's waste will increase from £2.5m this year to £5.6m by 2009-2010, which would include £2.1m in landfill tax and another £2m in government penalties.

At present recycling in the town has increased from 27 per cent to 32 per cent over the last 12 months.

If recycling is pushed from the current 32 per cent to 50 per cent, the disposal cost will be £2.7m in 2009-2010.

Wheelie bins have been trialled by the council in 10,000 West Swindon homes since May last year. Although unpopular at first, residents have since given them the thumbs up with many saying the bins have encouraged them to recycle.