Bradley Stoke residents will have to start paying an annual fee of £36 from next April if they want the council to continue emptying their green bins.
South Gloucestershire Council’s Communities Committee, meeting on 10th September, voted to introduce the charge, which had been put forward as an option in the council’s draft waste management strategy for the period 2013-19.
The council will also offer pay-as-you-go garden waste sacks, available at £20 for a bundle of ten, as an alternative to using the green bin.
New measures to promote home composting as a more environment-friendly option for green waste will also be introduced.
Residents who do not wish to subscribe to the collection service, or to home compost, can continue to dispose of garden waste free of charge at their local SORT IT! household waste recycling centre.
Plans to include mixed plastics, drinks cartons and small electrical items within kerbside recycling services from next year were also approved by the committee.
People living in flats are also set to benefit from a more comprehensive recycling service, with the introduction of new arrangements at premises not suited to a standard kerbside collection.
A public consultation on the draft waste management strategy held earlier in the year was widely criticised for not giving residents the option to say they wished to continue with a free green waste collection service. The results of the consultation published ahead of the committee meeting showed that 39% of the 1631 respondents said they didn’t agree with any of the three chargeable options presented to them.
In a report to councillors, council officers warned that the district’s current 51 per cent recycling rate could fall by 1.5 per cent once green bin charging is introduced – below the national 50 per cent milestone.
Commenting after the meeting, Cllr James Hunt (Con, Emersons Green), Conservative Lead Member for Communities, said:
“Like so many residents, I’m disappointed that Labour and LibDem councillors have ambushed the public and voted to impose green bin charging after a sham consultation.”
“Residents have pointed out how this move will damage our local environment by increasing fly-tipping, backyard burning and black bin usage, which will cut the district’s recycling rate.”
“It really is misleading to suggest that slapping new taxes onto residents is the only way to save the council money. For instance, we should have been putting the pressure on SITA to work more efficiently, but instead, the council has leapt into cutting frontline services first.”
“The fact that more residents snubbed the consultation question on bin charging than chose another option, shows that opposition councillors were wrong to remove the only free option from the consultation at the last minute.”
The Labour Group accused the Conservatives of: “refusing to face up to the cuts that their government is imposing, and instead, playing games by unveiling an uncosted proposal [relating to double shift working by SITA] at the meeting”.
Speaking after the vote, Communities Lead Member Cllr Pat Rooney (Labour, Woodstock) said:
“Nobody wants to impose charges for a service that is currently free, and I recognise how unpopular this decision will be. However, the Council is staring at a black hole in its finances and is being forced by government cuts to slash services.”
Residents choosing not to use their green bin from April next year will be able to ask for it to be taken away. Unwanted bins will be collected by SITA UK, for the plastic body and metal components to be dismantled and recycled.
This article originally appeared in the October edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to all homes in Bradley Stoke.
More information and related links:
- Report presented to SGC meeting on 10th September [PDF]
- Previous discussion about the green bin charge (BSJ Facebook)
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