Proposal to opt-in for garden waste collection

Fenland residents will have to opt in to have their garden waste collected from next April if a proposal by Fenland District Council to cut costs is approved.

A public consultation opened on Friday and will run until the end of July, giving those who live in the area a chance to share their comments on the change.

The charge is seen as necessary because of cuts in central government funding and the need to make significant savings.

Mark Mathews, head of environmental services, said in a report given to the council’s Cabinet in May, the 3-bin system waste collection service provided by the council since 2006 included the free collection of garden waste.

He said: “It costs more than £700,000 each year to provide this free service to all Fenland properties. With reductions in government funding creating ever increasing pressure to find further savings, considerations such as charging for services that have previously been offered for free becomes necessary.”

The council said that charging a fee would enable the service to be “self-funding” and bring it into line with more than half the other local authorities in the eastern region. Evidence obtained from other authorities indicated that the charge per bin for the service in the first

year should be set at £40 if the scheme was to be self-funding.

Initial estimates for the take-up of the scheme are that 40 per cent of existing customers could join, producing up to 80 per cent of the current waste. A fixed number of “early bird” discounts are proposed for residents who sign up for the charge before it comes into effect in April 2017.

View the consultation document online at www.fenland.gov.uk/gardenwaste. Hard copies will be delivered to all households around the end of June, and will be available in in all four Fenland@your service shops and community hubs.