Free fortnightly garden waste collections will come to an end in Wiltshire next year, as Wiltshire Council seeks to make further budgetary cuts.

The council currently offers residents the chance to have garden waste collected from every home in the county once a fortnight, either in bin bags or green wheelie bins left at the kerbside.

However, this system has been deemed too expensive, with the cabinet set to decide in October whether to cut the number of collections, or to start charging for them.

A council spokesman said: “The council faces significant financial pressures, with reduced funding from central government, increased service demand and inflation, and these pressures are likely to increase. We need to make savings to help the council deliver its priorities of protecting vulnerable people, boosting the local economy and bringing communities together.

“One way of achieving some savings towards this is by changing the way the garden waste collection service is delivered at the kerbside in Wiltshire.”

Three possible alternatives have been drawn up, with the public to be consulted about their preferred option over the next two months.

The first is to introduce a £35 annual charge for fortnightly collections, which would continue as normal throughout the year.

The other options would be for collections to stop for three months, from Decem-ber to February, or for five months, from November to March, when less green waste is typically collected.

Householders would still be free to deposit green waste free of charge at the council’s household recycling centres, or to compost their waste at home.

A questionnaire will be sent out via email, with leaflets available in libraries, leisure centres and council offices detailing the three options and asking for comments.

The consultation period will run from July 1 to September 1, with the results presented to the cabinet in a report in October.

Changes to the collection system will then come into effect next year.