Wealden council plans to charge residents for garden waste collections

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Wealden District Council is planning to charge residents for garden waste collections.

The council says it will be ‘looking to introduce customer charges’ when the new Joint Waste Contract for refuse and recycling comes into effect in June 2019.

“This is a decision we regret having to make,” said Councillor Roy Galley, Cabinet member for waste management at Wealden District Council.

“Like our residents, we are proud of Wealden’s strong recycling record, achieving recycling rates above 50 per cent. We hope we will be able to continue to achieve this in the future.

“The cost of Wealden’s garden waste collections has been partly subsidised by the returns our current contractor, Kier, has been able to make on recycled materials. There has been a sharp fall in the value of these materials on international markets in the past five years.

“The new collection contract will not include any reductions for the resale of recycling. Arrangements for disposal are still to be agreed.

“Garden waste collection is not a service Councils are required to provide. It was introduced in Wealden 15 years ago to boost a fledgling recycling service.

“Recycling collections have come a long way since those early days and we need to review the services we provide and how we deliver and pay for them.

“Rather than look to the council tax to fund garden waste collections, we think it is not unreasonable to ask the residents who value the service to make a contribution to the cost, as residents in the other joint waste partnership authorities of Rother and Hastings do.

“We have indicated that a charge of £1 a week is likely although the final figure will not be known until the cost of collections under the new contract is agreed late next year (2018).

“We are a large rural district and I know many residents have excellent opportunities to compost in their own gardens, and many already choose to do so. We will be promoting offers on a range of home composting equipment before the new scheme starts, providing residents with the opportunity to compost for themselves.

“Our free garden waste service collection has not been so widely used during those times in the gardening year when there is little demand, possibly adding unnecessarily to vehicle emissions.

“We will be sure those who pay directly for their service, will make the most of it.”