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Government move to bring back free garden waste collection to area's like Fenland must be 'fully funded'




Fenland District Council is among the two-thirds of councils who charge for garden waste collections, new analysis shows.

Fenland District Council among two-thirds who charge for garden waste collections. (8257348)
Fenland District Council among two-thirds who charge for garden waste collections. (8257348)

With the Government moving to bring back free garden waste collections, town halls across England have warned that the plan must be “fully funded”.

The Government’s new waste strategy has promised to consult on whether the millions of English households with gardens should have access to free collections of their grass cuttings, twigs, plant and hedge clippings.

Composting garden waste could cut carbon emissions, avoid landfill costs and generate extra revenue from producing compost, the strategy says.

Research by the Press Association shows that, of 326 English councils which pick up rubbish and recycling from homes, 212 of them (65 per cent) charge for a garden waste collection service.

In Fenland, an annual subscription for picking up a garden waste bin or bags costs £40.

While a third of councils provide free collections, the average cost across those who charge is around £46, the research shows.

Prices range from £22 a year in Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, to £96 a year in Harlow.

A comparison of the latest figures with previous Press Association research suggests 17 councils have introduced charges in the last 18 months or are doing so this year.

Many others have seen prices increase.

But two local authorities, Derby City Council and the London Borough of Redbridge, have made the decision to reintroduce free collections.

The Local Government Association said any changes to waste services that put more of a cost burden on councils already under huge financial pressure need to be fully funded.

Martin Tett, the LGA’s environment spokesman, said: “Some councils were able to provide free garden waste services when they were first introduced but are now having to charge to reflect the growing cost of providing a collection service.

“Money from garden waste collection charges goes back into maintaining the service.”

And he warned: “Any changes to waste services and additional cost burdens on councils, who are already under enormous financial pressure, need to be fully funded.”

He also said councils will have lost almost 60p out of every £1 between 2010 and 2020, and it was “vital” the forthcoming Government spending review fully funded the local services communities relied on.

An Environment Department spokesman said: “Free garden waste collections would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions through less garden waste being sent to landfill, but would also see more waste composted, which is cheaper for local authorities than landfill disposal.

“Subject to consultation, we intend to have free garden waste collections in place from 2023, with councils being funded appropriately to deliver this.”



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