East Herts Council confirms £49-a-year charge to collect garden waste
Gardeners in Bishop's Stortford, Sawbridgeworth and the rest of East Herts will have to pay for the district council to collect their green waste from April.
The existing mixed organic waste collection service is free to all households at a yearly cost to the council of £1.05m. But on Wednesday evening (Jan 13) at an extraordinary meeting of East Herts Council, the Conservative administration pushed through a recommendation that households that opt in to a chargeable 'garden waste only' service pay £49 a year – 94p a week.
Currently, residents use brown-topped bins for both garden and kitchen waste, so the change means households must use their black bins for food in future. Those that do not opt in will have their brown bins collected at some point.
Cllr Graham McAndrew, EHC's executive member for environmental sustainability, said: "We believe this to be the best option available to us, to ensure that residents continue to get a high standard of service and for the council to reduce its deficit.
"Charging for garden waste collection is becoming the norm, with over 60% of councils now charging." Those include neighbouring Uttlesford, which charges £46, and Harlow, where the cost is £38.50.
East Herts hopes to generate £400,000 for 2021 from residents who continue with green waste collections as it battles pressure on its overall budget exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.
The council anticipates introducing a weekly food waste service in 2023, but meanwhile Bishop's Stortford member Cllr McAndrew said: "Alongside this [green waste] service change, the focus going forward for the service will be on food waste reduction.
"Approximately 70% of the food waste from UK households that enters the residual waste stream is edible. We want to work with our residents, community champions and social influencers to significantly reduce the amount of food that is wasted.
"Not only is this good for our residents' purses, saving the average family of four approximately £60 a month, but it is also good for the environment."
More information about the campaign will be released from March 1, during National Food Waste Action Week.
Residents who sign up to the garden waste collections with a direct debit before March 15 will pay a reduced rate of £45.
* The current 2020-21 council tax charge for a band D household in Bishop's Stortford is £1,854.98, to pay for services provided by Hertfordshire County Council, Herts Police and Crime Commissioner and the district and town councils.