Bin collections could be set to change in Dartford as the council prepares to launch a consultation on waste collection.

Residents are being given the chance to have their say on how frequent bin collections after councillors agreed to open a consultation at a cabinet meeting last week.

Residents will be asked for vote on whether to retain weekly bin collections, or change to the Nominal Optimal Method, which sees food waste collected weekly, green bins collected every fortnight, and a fortnightly collection of paper, glass and plastic bottles.

According to a report that went to councillors on November 2, the current bin collection contract, which will expire in 2019, is outdated and will not be cost effective in the future.

Jeremy Kite, leader of Dartford Council, said this was a chance for the public to have their say.

He said: "The council has not made any decision already. People panic and think they can't survive without weekly bin collections, but that is not what we are saying. The council has agreed to open a consultation and there will be the option to retain weekly or change it.

"People think the decision has already been made but it hasn't. We have had two votes like this before and we will listen to what residents say.

"This about giving the people the choice, and if they want to change their services."

According to the report, adopting the NOM method would save Kent County Council £1M a year, and increase recycling rates to 45 per cent.

The report said: "The NOM service is widely used across the UK and has been the subject of extensive study to confirm its benefits. The NOM service would consist of the weekly collection of food waste in a new container, the fortnightly collection of refuse in green wheeled bins, the fortnightly collection of paper and card in grey wheeled bins, the fortnightly collection of glass, plastic bottles, tubs and trays and cans in black boxes, and the fortnightly collection of garden waste in brown wheeled bins for those

residents who opt-in to the paid for service."

Over the summer bin collection rates dropped dramatically, with thousands households have their collections late or missed.

Dartford Labour leader Jonathon Hawkes said changing the bin services would be breaking a promise made to residents ahead of the last election.

He said: "The council's own reports make clear that moving to fortnightly collections will deliver the savings we need. If residents vote to keep weekly collections – will they then be faced with another hike in their council tax to pay for it?

"They made a promise to the people of Dartford at the last election to maintain weekly bin collections. They are now threatening to break that promise."

Cllr Kite said the council would listen to the results of the consultation.

He said: "The council doesn't have a favourite, we haven't already made our mind up. The contract is up and we're opening it up to the public. We've done this twice before and listened."

The Big Bin Vote will be held before the end of the year.