Council proposes £25 fee to empty your green bin

PEOPLE could face paying a £25 annual charge if they want their garden waste collected.

South Kesteven District Council is considering introducing the fee to offset the cost of running the service, which so far has been covered by the council tax charge.

Officials say it would mean the district council would be able to freeze council tax at the current levels for 2012/13.

Without the charge the service could be axed.

But if 80 per cent of the 27,000 households which have a bin choose to pay it, the £500,000-a-year cost of running the service would be covered.

Half the households in the district have a green bin, used for grass and hedge cuttings, weeds, leaves and plants.

District council leader Linda Neal (Con) said the green waste collection was a discretionary service, provided since 2005.

She said: “In an ideal world we would be able to continue to deliver the service free of charge, but with the resources that we have it is simply not possible.

“We are having a 23.3 per cent reduction in our Government grant in the next financial year and we want to protect our frontline services at all costs.

“The green waste service is a discretionary service that not everyone in the district uses and introducing a charge is seen as a way of protecting it.”

Coun John Smith (Con), the portfolio holder for healthy environment, added: “By making a small charge of just £25 a year for those who want to use the service, we are hoping to be able to keep council tax at the current levels for the 2012/13 financial year.”

The district council held a series of consultation events last summer and Coun Neal said people had told the council they would rather pay a small charge than see the green waste collections axed.

Coun Neal said: “We are trying to make sure the service is still available to those that want it. It would be a big inconvenience to people who currently have a green bin to take their waste to a household recycling centre.”

If the plans go-ahead, anyone who doesn’t want to pay the fee will not have their bin collected.

They would have to take their garden waste to a tip, the nearest of which is in Cherryholt Road, Bourne, or waste is collected by the district council from the Cattle Market car park in Stamford on Saturday mornings.

Currently anyone who wants to get a green bin has to pay a £26 charge. If the proposals go-ahead, people who don’t have a green bin will have to pay £35 in the first year and £25 a year after that.

Households which have more than one green bin will have to pay £10 for each additional bin.

The district council first raised the idea of charging for collections in 2007. When the bins were introduced it cost £10 to buy a bin but this was raised to £26 after more people than predicted took up the service.

The fortnightly collection runs all year round but is dropped to one collection a month between November and March.

The final decision will be taken at a full council meeting in March.

Lincolnshire County Council is also proposing to freeze its council tax at the current levels for 2012/2013.

East Northamptonshire Council contracts its green waste collection out to Biffa, which run a fortnightly collection known as the Green Waste Club. It costs £14.40 to join the scheme and £58.20 a year for the service.

But Peterborough City Council and Rutland County Council each have a fortnightly collection with no charge. Both councils said they had no plans to introduce a charge.