End of free garden waste collections as Kirklees Council set to charge minimum £5 a visit

GARDENERS will have to pay to get their cuttings taken away.

End of free garden waste collections as Kirklees Council set to charge minimum £5 a visit

GARDENERS will have to pay to get their cuttings taken away.

Kirklees Council looks set to abolish its free garden waste collection service to raise money.

It’s a service used by tens of thousands of people every year.

Now the council plans to charge householders £1 per bin bag or “tied manageable bundle of similar size”.

There will be a minimum collection charge of £5 per visit, which will have to be paid in advance.

The council’s Labour Cabinet will decide next week whether to introduce the charges from October 1.

It is a move which has angered the elderly.

Noreen Logan, of the Huddersfield Pensioners Organisation, said: “For many elderly people, gardening is a popular hobby and they also supplement their income by growing vegetables and fruit.

“We don’t all have access to a car to take waste to the tip so they are going to find it a real hardship.

“And I know that if we did let our gardens get a mess, the council would be cracking down on us.”

One in eight homes in Kirklees has taken advantage of the free garden waste collection service in the last year.

Kirklees has made 65,000 collections from 20,000 households – but officials expect this figure to plummet when the charges are introduced.

Four staff currently employed in garden waste collection will be redeployed to other jobs within the council.

The experimental garden waste collection service – which operates in parts of Almondbury, Newsome, Dalton and Mirfield – will also be scrapped.

Council staff collect garden waste from homes in the areas every fortnight in the summer and once-a-month in the winter.

Some 547 households pay £20 a year for the service, which is due to be abolished in September.

Kirklees also plans to raise money by charging people who move in to new-build homes £25 to have bins delivered.

However, the grey bin, green bin and green box will remain the property of Kirklees.

There will be no charge to replace lost or stolen bins from other homes.

The council believes the move will generate an extra £25,000 a year.

A Kirklees spokesman said last night that the charges were needed to help the council cope with public spending cuts.

He said: “These proposals were part of the budget which was approved in February which had a target of saving £80m by 2014.

“Difficult decisions have to be made all across the council, but it is well-documented that the budget reductions are due to a large cut in government funding.

“The proposed new charges would contribute to the savings needed on waste collection as part of the council’s overall budget.

“It is important to note that the proposals do not have any impact on other waste collection, such as the emptying of wheeled bins.

“We believe that the people who generate the garden waste should pay for it to be collected, rather than this service being subsidised by every household across Kirklees.

“We also promote home composting as a means of dealing with garden waste and provide household waste recycling centres, where garden waste can be taken free of charge.

“Given the financial picture, councils all across the country have no choice but to look at different ways of operating services.”

The council’s Labour Cabinet will rule on the plan at its meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall from 4pm on Tuesday.

 
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