Residents condemn green waste charges

Garden Waste bag

Local residents complained angrily this evening at the Andover Forum about charges for green waste collection in the borough. The current bag system was introduced after Test Valley decided the previously used wheely bins were not suitable for green waste.

When the bags were introduced the new system was intended to be self funding and assurances were given to the public that no costs would fall on non-participating residents. However the new system proved to be more expensive than expected and the annual cost for 2006/2007 was £3.99 for every household in the borough. The issue has been debated at the council’s scrutiny committee when I argued strongly that those residents using the green waste scheme should pay the full cost of the scheme. The majority group disagreed but did agree to increase charges by £1 per bag for the following year. It is expected that the scheme will cost £2.75 per household over the coming (2008/2009) year.

Defenders of the scheme argue that it makes a significant contribution of 5% to our overall recycling rate. While I accept that our recycling has improved I would prefer the council to spend money on real recycling and reducing the amount of waste sent to land fill rather than paying residents to collect grass cuttings to artificially massage recycling rates.

I and my Lib Dem colleagues will be raising the matter again next year when budgets are set and pushing strongly for a self financing scheme and a real increase of recycling of household waste.

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