Fears of more fly-tipping after vote to scrap free green bin collections

September 26 2013

HOUSEHOLDERS in the Downend area will lose their free green bin collections from next spring.

councillor james hunt & greenbin1

HOUSEHOLDERS in the Downend area will lose their free green bin collections from next spring.

Residents will have to pay £36 a year to South Gloucestershire Council if they want to continue having fortnightly collections of garden waste. Alternatively, they can buy garden refuse sacks at £2 each, which will also be collected.

People can also, as now, dispose of green waste to the Sort It! site in Mangotsfield.

People on benefits will be charged a concessionary rate for a green bin. Those with big gardens can pay an additional £36 for a second green bin.

New measures to promote home composting as a more environment-friendly option will also be introduced.

Councillors agreed last month to the changes, which are intended to be more efficient and save money. The amount of income depends on take-up but is estimated at up to £1.2 million a year. The cost of bringing in the changes is said to be about £600,000.

There are concerns that the changes, part of a waste strategy adopted by the council for 2013-19, will reduce recycling rates, which are currently around 51 per cent – some of the best in the country.

However, the strategy includes plans to include mixed plastics, drinks cartons and small electrical items within kerbside recycling services from next year. An improved recycling service is also proposed for people living in flats.

Conservative councillors are angry that the only option for retaining a free service – but for nine months of the year rather than 12 – was not put to the vote at the council’s communities committee.

They say that nearly 2,000 residents responded to consultation about the changes and most comments were negative, while 39 per cent did not respond to a question about which charging option they would prefer.

Councillor James Hunt (Con, Emersons Green), said: “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.”

Councillor Pat Rooney (Labour, Woodstock) said: “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.”