People power cuts green waste costs
A FLOOD of responses to Swindon Council’s changes to green waste and recycling collections successfully forced the authority to drop the green waste charge by £30.
The town-wide proposals were approved by council bosses at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday night after 6,000 people responded to a public consultation.
Swindon Council’s cabinet heard this was one of the biggest participations in a consultation the authority has experienced.
Under the proposals, people’s recycling, which includes plastic, paper and tins, will be picked up once every two weeks – putting £520,000 back into the council’s kitty by reducing refuse vans and the number of contractual staff paid for by the council.
And residents will no longer have green plastic bags for their green waste but will pay £40 as an annual fee for a green wheelie bin. This has been brought down from the original proposal which was £70 for the first year. The charge will claw back £635,000 for the council.
People who responded to the consultation were mainly aged 45 to 63, with this group making up 43 per cent overall. The big concerns raised about plans for the green waste included the feeling the original charge of £70 was too high, the charge was unfair and regressive and the service should already be provided through council taxes.
In total 33 per cent said the charges were unacceptable, 24 per cent said they had no objection and eight per cent said they could use the service but were unwilling to.
About 75 per cent of people said changes to the recycling were welcomed, with nine per cent saying they only recycle fortnightly anyway. Six per cent of people said they thought it would increase the amount of litter in the streets.
“We have listened to what people were saying, they thought the £70 fee was too high, so we have brought it down,” said Coun Richard Hurley, the cabinet member for public protection, housing and streetsmart. “We are not going to please everybody but we have to find the funding from somewhere.”
The leader of Swindon’s Labour group, Coun Jim Grant said: “Does the cabinet agree with me that the £40 charge is going to hit the people who can least afford it. Those are the he pensioners and the poor who can’t drive to drop off their waste?”
Coun Hurley said this was why the council had brought down the cost, to help those groups and it is why they have introduced the idea of a communal bin where residents can share each other’s green wheelie bins The council leader, David Renard, said that in 2006 the authority used to charge £1 a bag for green waste collections, which resulted in people paying a similar amount now as they were seven years ago.
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