£35 brown bin charge approved
COUNCILLORS have voted for a new green waste charge from next year.
A £35 charge for fortnightly brown bin collection was approved at a meeting of Rossendale’s full council.
However, it was revealed that even after charging a fee for the removal of green waste, the council is still likely to lose money by providing the service.
The proposals were drawn up by a cross-party working group of both Labour and Conservative councillors. However, several Tories, including acting leader Coun Annabel Shipley, refused to support the charge, which will be introduced from March 2018. An amendment exempting community groups and charities was unanimously supported.
Coun Christine Lamb said: “Between 2010 and 2020 this council will have lost £27 million from central government. There will be more difficult decisions having to be made that will affect our residents.
“Collecting garden waste is not a statutory duty, we don’t have to do it, it’s an extra service that we provide. We wouldn’t have chosen to do this in an ideal world but unfortunately we thought this was the best option in the circumstances. We decided monthly collection was unacceptable.”
Labour finance spokesman, Coun Andrew Walmsley added: “Most of the authorities in Lancashire already charge or intend to do so, and the charge of £35 per bin is around the Lancashire average. To break even at this level we need around 50 per cent take up.
“The average take up in Lancashire is around 30, 40 per cent. Even if we get the average we won’t break even.”
The council says that they need to charge for green waste because payments worth £551,720 to help with waste collection are being withdrawn by Lancashire County Council (LCC) as of next year.
Coun Jackie Oakes, cabinet member for operational services, said: “We will probably raise £100,000. So however you look at it there is a gap of £400,000.
“We will be reviewing it in 12 months, if we are not raising the money we need to raise we will have to look at the pricing again.
“There is always the option for people to compost rather use the brown bin and there is no reason why people can’t share a bin.”
The council has provided a free green waste service since 2002 and in 2015/2016 generated 2,500 tonnes of garden waste for composting.
Coun Jackie Oakes