WEEKLY bin collections could be back within a month if Labour takes control of Bolton Council, as expected.

Labour leader Cliff Morris vowed Labour, now the biggest party on the council, would see through its pre-election pledge to scrap the controversial fortnightly collection of household rubbish.

The scheme, which was first introduced to parts of the borough last June, saw the emptying of grey wheelie bins changed from weekly to fortnightly so that recycling containers could be emptied in the alternate weeks.

The Lib Dem-controlled council introduced the scheme to help it meet Government recycling targets.

But many householders were opposed by to the scheme, which has since been extended to cover nearly all of the borough's 116,000 homes.

Families said they could not cope with the loss of the weekly collection.

Following last night's results, Cllr Morris said: "We will see a return of the weekly bin collections hopefully within the next month."

Council officers claim the introduction of the scheme has seen the council's recycling rates improve by 300 per cent and helped it to avoid Government fines of up to £1.5 million for missing its recycling targets.

But last night Labour Party members claimed it was the bin issue that turned the public against the Lib Dems.

Cllr Barbara Ronson, the Lib Dem leader, said the Labour party would not be able to wave a magic wand and make the bins problem go away.

After the votes were counted, leaving her party in third place on the council, Cllr Ronson said: "I am disappointed, mainly because there are so many things that we have started that I would have liked to have seen come to fruition and I would not like to see that work undone.

"Everybody has been going on about the bins, but they are not going to be able to change it immediately because in some areas people are not having any problems with the collections."

Cllr Ronson also claimed opposition parties had been shortsighted about the potential long-term benefits of recycling.

She also said that the Liberal Democrats had ploughed £500 million into the town centre's development, the results of which will be seen in coming years.

Cllr Ronson added: "We have now got time to get ourselves together before next May and I hope we can move forward."

Tory councillor John Walsh, who increased his majority in Astley Bridge, claimed it was local issues which helped give him a huge lead over the Liberal Democrats who attracted only 351 votes in the ward and Labour who polled just 686.

He said the collapse of the Labour vote served as a warning to the Bolton North East MP David Crausby, whose constituency includes Astley Bridge.

Cllr Walsh, who polled 2,424 votes, said: "This is a very salutary lesson for Mr Crausby Bolton North East is on the march."

Elsewhere, Michael Horlick won the Horwich and Blackrod seat for the Conservatives by a slim margin, squeezing Liberal Democrat, John Cronnolley, out by just over 100 votes, and John Richard Higson took Westhoughton North and Chew Moor from the Lib Dems with a majority of 340.