Anger over gar­den waste bill

Res­i­dents hit out

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID WALKER

Res­i­dents of Mo­ray have vented on­line af­ter be­ing slapped with the coun­cil’s bill to pick up gar­den waste.

The cash-strapped lo­cal author­ity an­nounced last year that it was plan­ning to bring in a £36 levy for col­lect­ing gar­den waste as of April 1.

Of­fi­cials have stressed the col­lec­tion of green refuse bins, food waste and re­cy­cling bins is not af­fected by the change.

But house­hold­ers who re­ceived a let­ter out­lin­ing the changes wasted no time in shar­ing their frus­tra­tion

“What do the el­derly and those with­out trans­port do?”

on the coun­cil’s so­cial me­dia pages.

Fran Mitchell wrote: “Ab­so­lutely dis­grace. It’s not our fault MDC are in debt through bad choices so why are you rob­bing even more money from us? Coun­cil tax pay­ments cover refuse col­lec­tion ... Far­ci­cal.”

Anne An­der­son was wor­ried that el­derly peo­ple were be­ing held to ran­som by the coun­cil.

She wrote: “Mo­ray Coun­cil, what do the el­derly and those with­out trans­port do? Not all re­cy­cling cen­tres are on a bus route. They don’t have any op­tions. They only have ‘per­mit’. They may not have pri­vate trans­port due to health or pos­si­bly wealth is­sues.”

There was also con­fu­sion about how the coun­cil would dif­fer­en­ti­ate the gar­den waste from the food waste, as they all go into one brown bin.

Adam Wagstaff said: “Mo­ray Coun­cil, my brown bin will be col­lected if it con­tains food waste, but if there’s any grass cut­tings it’ll get left? What’s the think­ing in that.”

The gar­den waste charge was first in­tro­duced in Mo­ray Coun­cil’s bud­get cut pro­pos­als, as a mea­sure that would go to­wards sav­ing the cash-strapped lo­cal author­ity money as they face a deficit of more than £9 mil­lion.

A £36 an­nual charge for gar­den waste will save them £690,000 over 2019-20 and £30,000 over 2020-21.

Mo­ray Coun­cil leader Gra­ham Lead­bit­ter in­sisted it is an im­por­tant and nec­es­sary step in their money-sav­ing pro­pos­als.

He said: “The coun­cil has a statu­tory duty to col­lect gen­eral, re­cy­clable and food waste but this statu­tory duty does not ex­tend to gar­den waste.

“If you use your brown bin for only food waste and not gar­den waste then a per­mit is not re­quired but if there is no per­mit and gar­den waste is mixed with food waste then the bin will not be emp­tied un­til a per­mit is ob­tained.

“Due to bud­getary pres­sures we are hav­ing to make some very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions and there are more dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions com­ing in the next few weeks. In par­tic­u­lar non­statu­tory ser­vices have to be looked at very care­fully in or­der to pro­tect those ser­vices that legally we must pro­vide and pro­tect.”

To re­ceive a per­mit be­fore April 1 you must ap­ply be­fore Fe­bru­ary 28.

DE­FI­ANT: Mo­ray Coun­cil leader Gra­ham Lead­bit­ter in­sisted the an­nual levy is im­por­tant and nec­es­sary.

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