Threat of green waste charges in Wealden

WEALDEN RESIDENTS could have to pay to have their green waste collected from next year.

If a decision is made to go ahead with a charge, private contractors could be appointed to carry away garden waste. This could see residents charged between £20 and £40 a year for the service. The Express has been told that several contractors have already been asked to quote a price for their services.

At present, many families living in Wealden have a ‘green garden waste’ bin which is emptied by council contractors at no charge, alongside separate containers for newspapers, magazines and plastics. Waste which can be put into the green bin includes grass cuttings, prunings, leaves and windfalls, straw and sawdust, cardboard, shredded paper and brown envelopes. Landfill waste is collected fortnightly in a separate bin.

The potential changes in collection arrangements were described in minutes of a recent meeting of the Joint Waste Committee (JWC) – the group set up to organise rubbish collections across Wealden and Rother District and Eastbourne Borough councils.

However the subject was due to be discussed at Wealden’s cabinet meeting this week, but the Express was informed it was withdrawn from the agenda.

Minutes of a JWC Bexhill meeting on February 28 show a proposal that ‘Cabinets of Eastbourne, Rother and Wealden consider the option of charging for green waste collections with a recommended levy of between £20 and £40 per annum by each authority.’ Minutes of a Crowborough JWC meeting on March 30 indicate if the scheme was adopted costs to councils would reduce by ‘in excess of £1 million.’

Wealden Leader Cllr Bob Standley told the Express: “No decision has been made with regard to Wealden charging for the collection of garden waste. The proposed waste contract is likely to widen the range of items collected at the kerbside. However with a limit on the funds available not all aspirations can be satisfied. Garden waste is not produced by all households, eg, flats, and it is an option to make a charge for this service. Once the information is available then the Council will make a decision.”

Replying to questions from the Express, he points out changes would mean collections of other recyclables such as glass bottles and food waste could be increased. Cardboard would be collected with papers instead of in green waste bins and he anticipates increases in home composting.

He points out a single annual charge could be in the range of £20-£40.