Council to charge for green waste

NMAC12-0449-3''Mansfield District Council Brown Bin
NMAC12-0449-3''Mansfield District Council Brown Bin

Scarborough Council is once again attempting to bring in a charge for green waste 

The plan was thrown out at the committee stage last year but now the authority is returning to the controversial issue in a bid to balance its budget for next year.

Dubbed the “garden tax” when it was brought in by other councils it would see householders pay a yearly fee to have their brown bins collected by the council.

Under the plans, an annual charge of £35 per licenced bin or £35 for 50 compostable sacks would be introduced.

A £20 discount would be offered in the first year to people who have previously purchased a brown bin from the council.

The fee has been calculated on a charge used by 
neighbouring Ryedale District Council.

It is reported that 26,000 households in the borough currently use the service to dispose of their grass cuttings and garden waste.

The measure will be voted on by the council’s cabinet on Tuesday.

A report which will go before the committee notes that it would be a controversial step to take.

It states: “A potential risk is that the introduction of a charged service will meet with negative publicity and customer perception, resulting in low participation levels for the new scheme and correspondingly reduced recycling performance.”

The author, Paul Thompson, adds that the recycling rate in the borough is expected to drop if the cabinet passes the recommendation.

He added: “Comparator (‘near neighbour’) authorities that levied a charge for garden waste in 2013/14 typically saw participation rates from 11 per cent to 47 per cent.

“Our current ‘free’ 
opt-in scheme is used by 26,000 households (44 per cent participation).

“For the purposes of the cost model, it has been assumed that overall participation in the scheme may fall upon the introduction of a charge.”

When the charge was first proposed in 2014 it was thrown out by councillors, who felt the savings of £100,000 did not 
outweigh the impact it could have on the borough’s recycling rate.

There were also concerns that it could damage 
Scarborough’s Britain In Bloom bids if people were not encouraged to keep their gardens tidy.

Those in favour of charges claim that the current
 system means that those without
 gardens are subsidising those who do as green waste collections are not a statutory service the council is required to provide by the Government.