A PLANNED cut to Oxfordshire’s waste partnership could lead to a fall in recycling rates, it has been claimed.

Oxford City Council has criticised Oxfordshire County Council’s plans to withdraw its funding from the partnership, which runs the county’s recycling.

There are fears that the cut would lead to the body being disbanded.

Labour city councillor John Tanner, executive board member for Cleaner, Greener Oxford, claimed the county council is planning to take away its £123,000 contribution.

This, he said, would leave it with funding of only around £25,000 from each of Oxfordshire’s five district councils.

He said: “Oxfordshire Waste Partnership is likely to bite the dust in 2015 because of the outrageous decision by the county council to take away its funding.

“That is a very short-sighted decision. We are better working together than separately.”

In Oxfordshire responsibility for waste management is shared between the county council, which is responsible for waste disposal, and the district councils, which are responsible for collecting waste.

The partnership was set up in 2007 to help the six councils work together to improve recycling rates and improve waste management.

In 2012/13 Oxfordshire had the highest recycling rate in the UK at 60 per cent.

This success has been attributed to the partnership, which has a small team of full-time staff based at Cherwell District Council.

Green city councillor David Williams said: “We need the co-operation of all the councils otherwise we will start to see a drop in recycling rates.”

David Dodds, a district councillor in South Oxfordshire and chairman of the waste partnership, said the cut would be a “false economy” as a lack of co-ordination would mean the county council would have to pay more to handle rubbish.

He said: “It is working together which has enabled us to have such a good recycling rate.”

Between 2010/11 and 2017/18 Government funding for the county council’s budget will have fallen by £96m – or 39 per cent.

This means that its budget for the next four years, which has been approved by the authority cabinet, includes cuts of £64m.

Ian Hudspeth, leader of the county council, said the cut would mean more spending on other services.

He added: “It is a tough decision as it has been very good but the waste partnership will have to close.

“I do not think recycling rates will go down. Residents have made a fantastic effort and I believe we will continue to reach targets.”