Harrogate Borough Council will charge £39 a year for garden waste collection in the brown wheelie bins.
On Wednesday 10 February council supported the changes to the service, which will mean that by 2018 all suitable properties will have an option to pay for the service.
The garden waste collection service is not currently available to all residents, and the council paid for an independent review to look at the options available.
In October 2015, the council launched an extensive public consultation asking residents across the district for their views on various options including pulling out of the service altogether, or introducing a charge with over 1,800 residents responding.
This reduction in service follows the announcement of the closure of a number of public toilets in the district, yet the build of an unnecessary new Council office continues – the build on Knapping Mount continues, yet there is already adequate accommodation across the existing accommodation estate.
Councillor Michael Harrison, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Waste Reduction and Recycling, said:
Residents are keen for the council to provide a kerbside garden waste collection service, and whilst the service currently provided is well received, it is simply unfair in the longer term to leave a large proportion of our residents without it. Whilst we would like to be able to expand the current service free of charge for the whole district, the council’s funding will continue to reduce, meaning we must prioritise key front line services before considering how we can expand a discretionary service such as garden waste. Realistically, the garden waste service in its current format cannot be expanded, and as the district grows the proportion of residents unable to receive the service will increase.
Like many other local authorities nationally, we have made the difficult decision to introduce what we feel is a reasonable charge for the garden waste collection service. It will be an opt-in service, so only those residents who want the service are paying for it.
This will be introduced from summer 2017 for existing users, and then expanded to all suitable properties in 2018.
The council are looking to make available subsidised home composters to residents who do not want to use the wheeled bin service, and the scheme will be flexible to accommodate neighbours who want to share a bin and those residents who require an assisted collection.
It is clear that residents have embraced recycling household waste, as we have seen a significant reduction in waste going to land fill over the last few years. We have listened to resident’s views and in January we expanded the ‘box and bag’ kerbside scheme to include brown cardboard, food/drink cartons and mixed plastics.
The revenue generated from the garden waste scheme will not only allow us to expand the garden waste collection service, it will help offset the cost of our other recycling initiatives so that the district can continue to become greener.
Residents need take no action at present – the 2016 garden waste season will operate as it does now – with residents being contacted in 2016/17 with further details on the scheme.