Date of West Berkshire's £50 green bin charge announced
Council provides update on controversial charge
WEST Berkshire residents will have to start paying £50 to have their garden waste collected in September.
The opt-in charge will come into force on Monday, September 3, and the council launched its subscription service at noon today (Monday).
The online-only subscription allows residents to sign themselves up or to register on behalf of family, friends and neighbours.
The controversial charge comes on top of council tax increases in recent years.
However, the council has said that because of mounting financial pressures it cannot afford to continue its garden waste service without asking residents to pay a separate charge.
Councillor for waste services Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley) said: "Like all local authorities, West Berkshire has been affected by reductions in central government funding which means that increasingly, we need to charge for some non-statutory services such as garden waste collections.
"We consulted with our residents and it was clear that garden waste collection is valued. Therefore, we are giving residents the choice of paying a £50 fee in order to retain the service."
The charge, which the council expected to generate £900,000 over the next four years, was scheduled to be introduced earlier this month but was pushed back until "later this summer."
The delay has is expected to cost the cash-strapped authority approximately £150,000.
Addressing the delay, Mrs Cole said: "The reason for the delay was we wanted to get it right and make it easy for residents to subscribe.
"We wanted to make sure it was working and not cause delay and irritation to our residents."
The charge applies from September 3, 2018, until August 31, 2019.
Residents who pay the £50 will receive a sticker to place on their green bin to ensure its collection.
The council said that residents should allow up to 14 days for stickers to arrive.
Up to five green bins per household are catered for; the first bin costing £50 and each additional bin costing £67 (a £40 service charge and £27 for a one-off bin payment).
The council said that the payment must be made in full, as it cannot accept direct debit payments, and it could not offer concessions.
No refunds are available outside of the 14-day cancellation period.
The last garden waste collection for residents who choose not to pay will be the week commencing August 20 or August 27, depending on their collection schedule.
The council said that residents not paying the charge can use their green bin to recycle their food waste and more information can be found at www.westberks.gov.uk/foodwaste
It added that garden waste can continue to be taken to household waste recycling centres in Newbury and Padworth free of charge.
The council said that it could not stop residents who had not paid the charge from using other people's bins.
Instead, it advised those opting to pay to store their green bin in a secure location.
The council said that letters outlining the changes would be sent to residents this week.
Further information and the subscription page is available at www.westberks.gov.uk/gardenwaste