Head of environmental services to recommend Fenland District Council to say YES to £40-a-year brown bin charge despite public outcry
- Credit: Archant
The decision to charge £40 a year to collect garden waste in Fenland will be recommended to cabinet at Fenland District Council – despite receiving a petition with over 1,600 signatures opposing it.
Mark Matthews, head of environmental services, is recommending that the council should defy the petition started by Chatteris man Lawrence Weetman and give the annual charge the green light in a bid to cut £700,000 of council spending.
His report, which he will present to cabinet on October 20, says that scrapping the traditionally free service and bringing in a charge of £40 per brown bin has “become necessary” due to “ever increasing pressure to find further savings.”
Mr Matthews says that figures from a public consultation last month revealed that 61 per cent of the 12,000 customers who responded said they would take up the service if it is introduced in April 2017, but also said that overall, “customers would prefer for the free service to continue.”
He says that £75,000 would be needed to kick-start the scheme, but also estimates that if between 40 and 50 per cent of customers sign up, it could make between £440,000 and £560,000, and £216,000 from ‘early bird’ subscriptions, which would be available from December 1 this year.
He also addresses residents’ concerns, which feature flytipping and the fairness of the charge to those worse off in the area.
Mr Matthews admits that flytipping was already an issue, but from 19 local authorities he has contacted, only four found there had been an increase in flytipping as a result of introducing charges, and that “alternative service options,” such as paying in instalments and sharing bins will be offered in an attempt to ease the “financial burden” the proposed charges could bring.
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If cabinet approves the new service, bin tags will be distributed to all homes in the are in November, before subscription is made available in December and January.
The service will begin in full on April 3 2017, when bins opting in will receive a collection ‘sticker’ and unwanted bins will be collected and either recycled or prepared for re-use.