Financial squeeze pushes council towards £50 charge to empty garden-waste bins
PUBLISHED: 06:55 23 January 2020
North Somerset Council can no longer afford to subsidise garden-waste collections when it is cutting frontline services.
Leader Don Davies said the authority had 'little room to manoeuvre' after 'years of cuts and council-tax freezes brought on by political decisions of past administrations'.
The council intends to start charging £50 a year for each 240-litre green bin it empties while promoting home composting in a bid to cut carbon emissions.
Speaking at an executive meeting, deputy council leader Mike Bell said: "We can't justify subsidising a garden-waste collection service which only benefits a minority of residents when we're having to cut frontline services in social care and children's services and other things residents say are important to them.
"No-one is going to be forced to pay. We're trying to find options like home composting, social composting. We need to take this decision and make it as palatable as possible."
The move is expected to save the council £450,000 a year.
Those wanting their green waste collected will have to opt into the service so the charge will only apply to those registered.
Discounts will also apply for low-income families.
The frequency of collections - fortnightly in the summer and monthly in the winter - will not change.
Cllr Davies said the authority was under great financial strain and hamstrung by a lower council tax rate than other parts of the South West due to political decisions by previous administrations.
He said: "We have £25million of cuts to make over the next four years.
"It gives us very little room for manoeuvre."
Cllr Ashley Cartman, the executive member for finance and performance, added: "The council has cut £100million, but the barrel is nearly empty now.
"If you don't want these charges, what else are you going to cut?"
Climate emergency champion councillor Bridget Petty said home composting and fewer vehicles collecting waste would be good for the environment.
A consultation on the changes is due to start shortly, with plans to introduce fees in the summer.