NEW FIGURES have revealed the amount of glass recycling collected in Test Valley has shot up by more than 40 per cent amid lockdown.

Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) announced between March 16 and June 1 they collected 930 tonnes of glass bottles and jars for recycling – an increase of 44 per cent over the same period last year.

Now community leaders have revealed their thoughts on this spike, with some councillors claiming residents have been "drinking more at home" while pubs and restaurants were shut.

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents Romsey Cupernham on the borough council, said: "The collection rate is good, however how many many of those bottles contained alcohol?

"Let's face it, the pubs have been closed during that time and if you normally go out to have a meal you may have a bottle of wine with it, so at home you would probably have a bottle too.

"People may have been indulging in more alcohol, as it is cheaper to drink at home, which is why the collections have probably gone up by more than 40 per cent."

She added these figures may suggest residents have not been "drink driving" from restaurants or pubs as often while these places were shut.

Cllr Alan Dowden, who represents Valley Park on the borough council, said: "I am not surprised by this because a lot of people have been drinking more at home as they were stuck indoors.

"I think some people have been depressed because of lockdown, so as a result the only way to stay sane is to have a drink in some circumstances.

He added: "My argument is Test Valley could even increase the glass collection rate in more urban areas, such as Romsey, North Baddesley and Valley Park if they collected glass from door to door."

However, deputy leader for TVBC, Cllr Nick Adams-King, said since the local authority took over bottle bank collections from August 1 last year the cost of this service can be run "more cheaply".

"If we were to start going door to door we would the cost would be considerable, so we would need to find them money by increasing council tax or reducing what we spend elsewhere."

He also thanked everyone who has "collected glass, despite the huge increase" in bottles being recycled, adding: "I have not had any complaints about glass overflowing and they have kept up with the volume brilliantly."

Cllr Mark Cooper, who represents Romsey Tadburn on the borough council, disagreed with his fellow councillors that residents were drinking more over this period.

He said: "I do not think it shows a significant increase in people's drinking habits and I think it illustrates a change from people going to pubs and restaurants to drinking at home."