Householders looking to get the council to take away bulky items of waste - a sofa perhaps, or a fridge can do worse than live in Swindon.

The council here does reasonably well out of what has been called the bulky waste postcode lottery.

While the headline charge levied by Swindon Borough Council for such collections looks dear at £28.70, it turns out that can cover up to three items, meaning the average charge per item, if a resident can assemble them, is £9.60.

There is a separate specific charge for fridges and freezers which is also £28.70. They go for degassing, while other white goods are recycled or sold to charities who supply them to those on a low income.

The Swindon charge looks more than the £23 headline charge demanded by Wiltshire Council. But that amount is a flat rate for every item, so three items costs £69. The charge is the same for fridges and freezers.

In the Vale of the White Horse district area, on Swindon’s eastern border, the initial charge is £36, though again that’s for up to three items. A householder can add another three items to that collection for £7 an additional item.

That means six items in one go would cost £57 compared to £57.40 for two collections of three items in Swindon.

The rate in Cotswolds, to the northwest of Swindon is significantly lower, if you can afford to buy, or rent a house in the area.

A first collection for up to three items costs £14, with £5 charged for additional items up to a total of six. It’s the cheapest in the entire south west region.

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said: “We appreciate it can be difficult for some people to dispose of large items that they do not want any more and so we try to offer a service that is affordable for people. We think our service is competitively priced and we also offer a discount for people in receipt of council tax support.

“We’re delighted the paper has taken such a keen interest in bulky waste collections and given us the chance to advertise our service for free. Further information about the service is available on our website:”

Councils in the south west region, overall, are the second most expensive in the country, behind councils in the south east.

The English average for the first item collected is £11 - much less than Swindon’s initial charge, but more than the average price per unit if a householder can assemble three items.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: “Councils were able to provide free garden and bulky waste services when they were first introduced but are now having to charge to reflect the growing cost of providing a collection service.

“Councils in England face an overall funding gap of £3.2 billion in 2019-20.

“Money from garden and bulky waste collection charges goes back into maintaining the service.”