BRENTWOOD Council has been criticised for splashing thousands on specialist waste trucks – only to replace them 16 months later.

The council exchanged three recycling waste vehicles, which cost £154,000 each in 2011, for brand new ones at a sale price of £120,000 – a total loss of £102,000.

Each truck had separate compartments for different waste types and were bought by the authority when food recycling was introduced to Brentwood.

Bosses at the council say the trade is linked to the recent decision to have recycling collections done on a weekly basis rather than fortnightly.

However, the trading has been criticised by Independent councillor Russell Quirk, who called the situation a “balls up” and feels the council got its sums wrong.

He said: “The food recycling compartment is filled quicker than the other areas, which means the vehicle should have to return to the recycling base more often than planned and at great cost in man hours and fuel.

“However, instead of making more journeys to the tip, the council has been caught throwing the food recycling into the general waste compartment instead in order to “wait” until each truck is completely full of glass and black bag waste. This is defrauding Brentwood householders.”

Officials at the council said they feel the trading of the three vehicles was a good deal as the new trucks would have cost £142,000 to buy new.

They said two extra vehicles have been bought, costing £138,250 each, to help in the weekly collection, with funding for both being provided through the Department for Communities and Local Government.

A spokesman for the council said: “We have exchanged three 16-month-old vehicles for three brand new vehicles for nothing – the value of the new vehicles being £142,000 and the value of the old vehicles is £120,000.

“The only reason for purchasing additional vehicles and changing three is due to the introduction of a weekly recycling collection.

“We have retained five of the original eight vehicles we purchased 16 months ago to collect food waste and dry recycling. The new vehicles will collect all waste in black sacks.”

The council also denied Mr Quirk’s claim food recycling was being thrown in the general waste compartments.