Fri, 22 Jun 2018
WEST Berkshire Council has delayed the introduction of a controversial scheme which will see residents charged £50 to have their garden waste collected.
It had originally intended to start charging from July 1.
But the council’s portfolio holder for planning, housing and waste Hilary Cole instead confirmed at a meeting last week that the optional, flat-rate charge will now come into effect “later this summer”.
Mrs Cole did not give a reason as to why the council could no longer deliver on the proposed date.
So much for @Conservatives green policies, Cllr Hillary Cole fails to deliver the #bintax on time and tells residents to dispose of green waste in black bins. @RichardBenyonMP do you support this policy from your colleague?#recycling#greentoriesdontmakemelaugh@NewburyToday— Steve Masters (@AnothervoiceWB) June 14, 2018
The news sparked fury at a meeting of the council’s executive last week, where opposition vice leader, Alan Macro, (Lib Dem, Theale) claimed the delayed date could have a detrimental impact on the anticipated £900,000 the cash-strapped Conservative-led council hoped the scheme would generate.
Mr Macro argued the term “later this summer” could be as late as September – by which time residents would be even more reluctant to sign up to the scheme.
Responding, Mrs Cole accused his party of behaving “shambolically” on the subject.
She said: “I have to say, councillor Macro, that I think it’s a shame that you’ve chosen to use such misleading and emotive language on this issue.
“It’s clear that you don’t understand that leading a local authority means making hard choices, particularly on non-statutory services such as garden waste collection.
“There will no doubt be an effect on the anticipated revenue, but I can’t give you figures at the moment.”
Mrs Cole highlighted that, in advance of the scheme being rolled out, there would be an official press launch and letters being sent to every household.
She also indicated there would be a period of time during which residents can subscribe to the service, using a specially-built online platform.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Macro said: “The later the charge is introduced, the more likely it is that residents will put off paying for it until the spring.”
It was also revealed that all appropriate enforcement action will be taken should the controversial green bin charge trigger an increase in fly-tipping.
The Conservative-led council was pressed for concrete answers on financial and operational contingency plans it had in place in the event of waste being dumped illegally.
Former Newbury Green Party chairman Carolyne Culver asked how the council would advise its waste contractors if members of the public began stuffing their black bins full of garden waste and if there was a rise in fly-tipping.
Mrs Cole replied that concerns about fly-tipping had already been raised during the consultation process undertaken prior to the council voting on the green bin charge in March.
The Conservative councillor for Chieveley said: “This council will continue to take appropriate enforcement action and also seeks to recover, in full, the cost of enforcement action, wherever possible.”
Ms Culver added that she had spoken to more than 300 people across East Ilsley, West Ilsley, Compton and Hampstead Norreys about the potential implications of the £50 charge.
Most residents, she said, would either fly-tip their garden waste or put it in their black bin when the charge comes into force.
Reacting to the news, Mrs Cole said: “I’m struggling to answer this question because people are entitled to put garden waste in their black bin anyway.”
She added that residents are welcome to take garden waste to the recycling centres at Padworth and Newtown Road, free of charge.