Bin charging ‘snubbed by residents’
Extra £1.2m income to be raised from ‘ambushed’ households
Bin charging looks set to raise an extra £1.2million from local households even though this will depress the district’s recycling rate, councillors are being told.
Council officers are recommending the £36 a year green bin charge for garden waste collection in a report to be considered by councillors on the authority’s Communities Committee following a recent consultation.
And added to the proposed £36 charge could be £20 for a pre-paid bundle of sacks.
The consultation was fiercely criticised by Conservative councillors after opposition councillors deleted the only free option - meaning that residents could only pick from 3 charging options.
And of the almost 2,000 consultation responses received, a majority of comments were negative about green bin charging with 39 per cent of residents refusing even to respond to the question of which charging option they preferred, despite going on to answer the remaining consultation questions.
In the report, council officers warn that the district’s current 51 per cent recycling rate could fall by 1.5 per cent if green bin charging is introduced – below the national 50 per cent milestone.
Commenting on the consultation results, Cllr James Hunt (Con, Emersons Green), Conservative Lead Member for Communities, said:
“The fact that more residents snubbed the consultation question on bin charging than chose another option shows that the LibDems were wrong to change the officer recommendation and at the last minute remove the only free option from the consultation
Residents feel like they are being ambushed into accepting an annual charge which could be as high as £56 and which will cut the district’s recycling rate after many years of sustained improvement.
Residents have also identified in their consultation responses that some people will instead simply use their black bins to dispose of their garden waste or fly-tip or burn the waste in their back yards, which will not be good for our local environment.
Cllr Hunt added
“Consultation and engagement need to be things which South Glos Council can be proud of and so residents should have been consulted on the full range of options and have the pros and cons for each one explained.
If there are difficult choices, councillors shouldn't shy away from discussing, informing and listening to their residents and they certainly shouldn't just remove difficult options from discussion.”
If green bin charging is approved by councillors, the existing free service will stop on 28th March 2014 and then the chargeable service will start.