22/12/2016 Members to decide on future of garden waste collections

Welwyn Hatfield councillors are set to decide whether to introduce a £35 annual charge for brown bin collections in the next financial year.

On Monday 9 January, the council's Cabinet will consider a recommendation to introduce a subscription service for brown bin collections. If approved, a meeting of full Council on the same evening will make a final decision on the amount to be charged.

The report to Cabinet reviews the consultation feedback and explains how, in the face of continued reductions to government funding, around £400,000 could be saved each year by introducing an optional subscription service.

The proposal is for residents initially to use their black bins for their food waste, while keeping alternative methods of food waste collection under review.  The report recognises the importance of promoting better food waste management to help keep waste diverted from landfill. 

Councillor Helen Bromley, Executive Member for Environment, said: "We have already delivered £11m of efficiencies and savings since 2010, but our funding continues to be cut. The harsh reality is that free garden waste collections, which we introduced in 2007, cost around £1.1m each year. We cannot continue to fund this, as well as the wide range of other services we deliver, within our current budgets.

"The consultation confirmed how much this service is valued by those residents who use it and, after careful consideration of the options, officers are recommending introducing a charge to keep the service - around 70p per week.

"There would be some costs involved in setting up a new system, but these will be quickly offset by the year-on-year savings we will generate; savings that will protect other services."

Over half of the councils across the country now charge for garden waste collections at an average price of £41.22 per year. If Members agree recommendations to charge for brown bin collections, a report will be presented to the council's cross-party environment scrutiny committee on 30 January outlining further details on how the paid-for service would work.

The Cabinet and Council meetings take place on 9 January. Further information, reports and agendas can be found at www.welhat.gov.uk/latestmeetings or by calling 01707 357000.

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