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Charge for garden waste collection is 'the thin end of the wedge' say Lib Dems...

... but tax payers have a choice, Conservatives reply

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Charge for green waste collection is 'the thin end of the wedge' say Lib Dems...

A “VOLUNTARY” cut to waste collection was met with no objection from Thatcham Town Council. 

West Berkshire Council is proposing to charge an annual subscription of around £50 a household for the collection of garden waste.

The council said that the charge amounted to less than £2 per collection.

The cash-strapped authority said that the proposed charge would generate an estimated income of £900,000 a year, which will help pay for the council’s rubbish and recycling collection service.

Discussing the charge, Jeff Brooks (Lib Dem, Thatcham West) said that the scheme was the thin end of the wedge. 

He said: “Once you start charging for various things, it becomes a fix, just keep going back to the well. £1 a week this year, ‘that was easy, let’s do it again’.”

Referencing increased charges to parking in Newbury on Sundays, Mr Brooks feared that the same could happen with the new charge.

“Once you do something like that for garden waste – £50 then £75 – it’s the thin end of the wedge and therefore the council could reasonably say ‘it’s all regrettable that we are having to do these things’.

He urged the district council to freeze the charge for three years to, he said, “give some certainty to householders”.

“Let’s be clear to people who are struggling.”

The council has said that residents will be able to opt in to the subscription service.

Those who do, can continue to use their green bin and will receive a bin sticker to show that the service has been paid for. 

The green bin can be put out with recycling every fortnight.

Non-subscribers will stop receiving a garden waste collection. However, the council can still collect food for recycling if desired.

There will be no service concessions.

Referring to the detail, Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) said: “At least the tax-paying resident has a choice with this scheme.

“It’s going to raise a considerable sum.

“This is a cash-strapped council, along with others. 

“West Berkshire Council has gone through everything to raise money wherever it can.

“It’s voluntary.” 

West Berkshire’s councillor for waste, Dominic Boeck (Con, Aldermaston) and town councillor for Thatcham South and Crookham, agreed with his Conservative colleague. 

He said: “This is a choice. This is an important issue. 

“People who have large gardens, like councillor Brooks and others, will probably take up the service.

“We anticipate 45 per cent of people will take up the £50 a year.

“That will deliver, we hope, £900,000 income.

“East Devon district council recently introduced this scheme and residents are absolutely delighted.

“It’s something they didn’t have before and now they do. 

“It’s unfortunate we are having to ask residents to pay for a service that was free, but that’s where we are.”

And Steve Ardagh-Walter (Con, Thatcham West) said that, while he didn’t welcome asking residents to pay, the proposal was “more justifiable” than a reduction in funding to Citizens Advice West Berkshire.

Mr Brooks’ request to freeze the charge for three years was voted down. 

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Article comments

  • Andrewmo

    29/01/2018 - 11:11

    What a bunch of fools, we'll just put our green waste in the black bins. Newbury will miss their recycling target.


  • Numerate grumpy

    17/01/2018 - 23:11

    How can the bin men check a grey bin for green waste? By tipping it all out? By opening any bags? I'm with PhilW, WBC embarked on their latest cost cutting so-called 'consultation' prior to the announcement of the business rates retention. #1 on the savings to be reinstated should be the CAB grant and, then, this green bin charge. The current Veolia contract, with recycling and Saturday collections to make up for Bank Holidays, is the one jewel in the crown for WBC, introduced by the late Geoff Findlay, and it will be a pity if 2 months after his passing it gets chopped. Just a related thought, within the last few days, the government has announced that charging for DIY waste is to be outlawed. DIY waste is yet to be defined but this should put another spanner in the WBC works!


    • Bombey

      18/01/2018 - 11:11

      The bin men regularly don't empty bins containing the 'wrong' waste.


  • PhilW

    17/01/2018 - 20:08

    Sinve this charge was first considered West Berks has been allocated an extra £1.9million through the business rate retention pilot scheme. They no longer have the justification to introduce the charge, which will result in a serious reduction in recycling.


  • RichardBenyonFan


    17/01/2018 - 20:08

    Richard Benyon and the council are once again recognizing the problems that face our community. It is not fair that people that dont have a garden are being forced to pay for others waste to be taken away. Great idea!


    • NoisyNortherner

      18/01/2018 - 09:09

      This attitude is such an "I'm alright Jack" load of nonsense. How about people who don't have children funding schools? Healthy people funding the NHS? People who don't drive funding road maintenance? Where does it end? Answer: It doesn't. The only fair tax system is for everyone to be treated broadly the same. If you have a problem with how the council spends said money, then that's what elections are for.


      • Bombey

        18/01/2018 - 11:11

        Where does it stop indeed. Folk not happy about being asked to pay for something, so they'll go out of their way to avoid paying. Probably costing them fiscally & physically in the long run. Still, they'll be happy in the short sighted term thinking they have 'got one over' on their local authority.


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