Our survey says...‘Scrap green waste charges’By Jon Nurse
July 10, 2012
The £60 green waste bin charge should be scrapped and the free service reinstated, according to getwokingham users.
The majority of users who took part in our survey said they would choose to pay less than the current rate charged by Wokingham Borough Council, with 76 per cent saying it should be free.
Our poll on this site drew 374 responses, with 96 per cent of people saying they want to pay less than the £60 annual fee, which was introduced in April.
People who do not want to use the wheelie bins can opt instead for green waste sacks, which are £1 each from the civic offices or libraries.
Liberal Democrat councillors have said they will push for changes to the waste collection scheme, criticising the current service for green waste as being “far too expensive”.
Councillor Angus Ross, executive member for environment, said: “Nobody likes charging for something, but it is a discretionary service. Officers have made a calculation for the cost of collection and disposal and this is the figure.
“We will be reviewing the system to see if there is any margin for change, but that’s not making any promises.
“A lot the people I’ve spoken to have said they don’t see what the fuss is all about, because if you have a large garden you have the opportunity to compost on site and that cost shouldn’t be subsidised by someone who doesn’t have a garden at all.
“I expect it would be people who don’t like the scheme who would choose to answer a survey.
“If people don’t want to use the £60 scheme they can use £1 bags at the times of the year when they need it.
“We offer subsidised rates for people to try composting or houses can pair together and share the service.”
One third of councils in England, including Wokingham, Bracknell Forest and Reading, charge residents for the service.
Liberal Democrats in Wokingham received more than 1,000 replies to a waste and recycling survey earlier this year and plan to use the information to push for changes.
Cllr Prue Bray, leader of the Lib Dem group, said: “Residents have told us about a huge variety of issues.
“The top three are that the green waste is far too expensive, that the blue bags are not good enough and that people want to be able to recycle a wider range of items. We will be focusing on getting the Conservatives to rethink at least those three aspects of the scheme. The Lib Dems recognise that money is tight and that any changes made will have to be affordable and cost effective.
“This may limit the scope of what can be done. But we hope we will be able to work constructively together with Conservative councillors to get the changes residents want to see.”
Cllr Ross said: “I understand the Lib Dems will ask a question at the next council meeting by which time we will have more accurate figures for the first three months of the scheme to see how successful it has been.”