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Fears West Suffolk garden waste changes could cause more frequent subscription hikes

PUBLISHED: 05:30 08 November 2018

Brown bin charges in West Suffolk may increase from £40 to £43 annually Picture: GREGG BROWN

Brown bin charges in West Suffolk may increase from £40 to £43 annually Picture: GREGG BROWN

Concerns have been raised over plans to increase the subscription for garden waste collection in West Suffolk, with fears that homes could be hit with more frequent price hikes.

A joint task group for St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath councils was set up in June to review garden waste collection, which was first introduced in 2016.

Annual fees per household are currently £40 for garden waste to be collected, after an agreement to fix it for three years when it was first introduced, but the review included assessing whether that could be upped to £43 or £45.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s scrutiny committee on Wednesday agreed to back proposals to increase the cost to £43 from April next year, with plans to introduce rolling 12 month subscriptions from 2020.

But with annual reviews set to take place going forward, fears were raised that homes could face more frequent cost rises over a period of a handful of years.

Councillor Simon Brown said: “We have now got to explain to residents a hike to £43 and then again to £45 [potentially in future].

“Maybe it would be a better hike in one go.”

The committee heard that at £43 per year instead of £40 the service can break even.

Around 30,100 homes are currently subscribed for garden waste bins.

Councillor John Burns, who was part of the task group, said: “Primarily the reason behind that was because the cost of the service was not being paid for by the subscription service, and it was agreed those who were using it should pay for it.”

Mr Burns pointed to councils such as Harlow charging £95 annually as proof that Suffolk’s cost was still reasonable.

The committee acknowledged that the public were sensitive to cost increases, but felt it had been justified in allowing the service to cover its costs,.

Forest Heath’s scrutiny committee will consider the proposals on Thursday, with a final decision due on November 27 at the joint shadow cabinet committee for the two councils.

In a joint statement, operations cabinet members David Bowman and Peter Stevens said: “The track record built over the past three years provides valuable evidence for how to meet future challenges and we look forward to considering their recommendations.”

1 comment

  • With the merging of St Ed's and Forest Heath we have seen the council tax rates align - upwards! So we in Forest Heath are paying more and have absolutely no change in services. There isn't suddenly a decent pool or gym or youth facilities in our area. So we still have to travel to BSE. And this is another example of ripping council tax payers off. Our old (free) brown bin could accommodate anything - grass clipping, branches, leaves and green kitchen waste. But the new £40 bin will only take garden waste. As a result we are filling our black bin every two weeks with kitchen waste which could go to composting. I am close to cancelling by subscription for the brown bin. I only really use it in late spring to early autumn, so in future I will tip grass clippings into the hedgerows outside my home. Green fly-tipping? Maybe. But it is organic and will rot down.....and save me this stupid expense.

    Report this comment

    John Smith

    Saturday, November 10, 2018

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