£25 green bins fee: Saving the taxpayer or an unfair charge?

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Have your say

Following publication of your story last week about our plans to introduce a small charge for the collection of green waste, it has been suggested that instead of introducing a separate bill for this service we could simply add the cost to council tax.

Financial rules do not allow us to do this, and in any case we felt it would be unfair to force everyone to pay (people who want to compost or take their waste to the tip are perfectly at liberty to and will not have to pay), and we certainly didn’t want to make people who live in flats or terraced houses and have no garden pay for a service they could never make use of.

It is also worth stressing that all councils have had to cope with massive reductions in the grant they receive as the Government strives to reduce the national deficit.

As your readers will no doubt be aware this has led to some authorities having to make major cuts in services and impose large scale redundancies.

In South Kesteven we have suffered a grant cut of 13.1 per cent already and a further reduction of 11.7 per cent will follow this year.

Our response has been to search for even more savings and introduce innovative new ways to serve local people so that we are able to put forward a budget which will allow us to freeze council tax and there will be no cuts in services.

Against this kind of background I believe that a charge for green waste collection that averages out at less than 50p a week over a full year is a small price to pay.

We are not seeking to make a profit, we are simply asking those people who use the service to help us meet the cost of providing it.

And remember people who don’t want to use the service don’t have to pay anything at all.

Linda Neal

Leader (Con)

South Kesteven District Council, Grantham

I am quite willing to pay the proposed £25 annual green bin collection charge rather than the petrol costs incurred driving to Bourne dump.

However, I would want to see the monthly collection regime imposed from March/April/May, not January/Feb/March, which as any gardener knows, is peak pruning time.

Most of us can compost soft green matter like grass cuttings ourselves, but since we can no longer burn our rosebush/small tree prunings we need our bins collected in the first quarter of the year.

Ann Johnson

Barnack Road, Stamford

It is time South Kesteven District Council told the truth over the economics of the green bin scheme, rather than threatening us with more charges.

When the scheme was launched it was sold to us by the council as being a means for us to get economically-priced recycled compost back in return for paying for bin hire (then £15) and putting in only vegetable based garden rubbish for a fortnightly collection.

This was a promise made by the district council right at the beginning and when I followed it up in 2007, as nothing had yet happened, I was told that the garden waste was actually being reprocessed by a private company and that the district council was paying it to do the recycling!

It was not known where the compost them went but there was clearly no benefit to us.

As a then resident of West Deeping I raised my concerns officially at a Deepings Forum in January, 2007, when the district council was talking about making an annual charge for the scheme.

The meeting was told that the council would look into it again and report back.

The matter was discussed again at the Deepings Forum in January, 2008, when it was admitted that the original intention had been to sell back the compost but this had not been possible.

However, after protests the council agreed to look at the matter again.

So far since then nothing further has been heard but surely it must be possible to make some money from selling the compost back to us rather than letting some favoured company do all the composting at our expense and then sell it on to make them further profit.

We put in all the work and someone else gets the reward; perhaps another example of the managed decline that Coun John Hicks refers to in the same Mercury edition.

David Allen

Empingham Road,

Stamford

Making a charge for the green bin service will be a £25 a year increase on council tax for the taxpayers who do their level best to keep the environment in good and tidy order.

Let’s hear from the horse’s mouth:

1 How much will the administration of the new green bin arrangement cost?

2 Will the refuse collectors be able to distinguish a paid-for bin from a main-chancer bin?

3 Surely the process costs more than it makes, especially pursuing those evading the charge for a service they are using?

4 Isn’t it the case many councils have discounted the idea because the can see this?

5 Or is it intended to get some business over to a private provider no matter what it costs the council or the taxpayer?

Mrs R Britton

Millfield Road, Morton

I must say I agree with the £25 proposed annual charge for the use of our green bins.

When we first had ours we were told then that an annual charge was always a possibility and if this helps to stop any increase in the council tax surely this must be welcomed.

Not everyone of the older generation has access to a car to take there green waste to the tip, and they are the ones that do a lot of gardening as a hobby, and in any case with the continuing increase in the cost of fuel £25 is not a lot to pay for the convenience of these collections.

People who do not want to pay have the option of not having a bin.

Sybil Barrett

Burchnall Close, Deeping St James

IT’S not easy being green, especially when our district council proposes charging £25 a year to empty our green bins.

Green recycling is no longer a district council priority, therefore anyone who needs a green bin emptied is to be charged an extra fee.

Penalising half the district’s taxpayers (nearly 30,000) to freeze council tax for all taxpayers (about 59,629) does not make sense.

No-one wants to pay more tax, but the implication is: If residents choose not to pay £25 for emptying the green bin, they are responsible for an increase in council tax, and the bin service may also cease to be viable.

This means that those on a limited budget, those with no transport, the elderly and less able, will struggle to pay for the disposal of their green waste.

The council first suggested charging for the green bin service in January, 2008, since the the collections during the winter months have been reduced.

If council tax needs to be increased by a few pounds to provide the services customers need, the council must make that decision, not freeze council tax at current levels and set a precedent of charging an additional fee for the green bin service.

Coun John Smith pointed out that these proposals were being made because taxpayers with green bins could opt in or out of the scheme.

However, he maintains that the council is “keen to promote recycling” and encourages new members to join.

These proposals are unfair and ill-considered. The suggestion that half of the district’s households should pay a surcharge on their council tax to freeze tax for the other half is unjust.

The plans for an annual (uncapped) green recycling fee are subject to approval by the full district council in March.

Let your district councillor know if you believe these proposals are unfair and send copies of any correspondence to your parish town council.

JOYCE STEVENSON

Obthorpe Lane, Thurlby

I thought South Kesteven District Council was supposed to encourage us to be environmentally friendly and I thought they sold the fertiliser.

What next – separate charging for general waste disposal? This is really going to help me balance the books.

Thanks a bunch, South Kesteven.

Andy Tucker

Hall Road, Haconby

So it is proposed that we pay a further £25 for our green bins.

In principle I do not query this as it is still cheaper than driving into Bourne to dispose of my garden waste.

However I am intrigued as to just how this would work. Does this mean that the council is going to remove all the green bins that have not paid the fee?

If not, how are the crews going to know who has paid and who is just trying it on?

In some areas a number of green bins are put together for collection – who would know which is which?

Also does the council hold a list of the people who have paid for the bins? I think not!

John Cox

Station Road, Morton

I PERSONALLY return my green waste back to the environment, but I nevertheless believe South Kesteven District Council should not increase charges for green bin disposal.

It has already made savings out of our recycling efforts - what has that money been spent on?

TOM BUTTERFIELD

Stowe Road, Langtoft