MORE than £200,000 worth of wheelie bins purchased by the council for the new green waste collections are yet to be allocated.

The scheme is due to come into force in April, and more than 20 per cent of residents across the borough would need to sign up to receive the new bins in order for it to break even.

The public consultation into an annual charge for green waste bins, which ended last December and attracted almost 6,000 responses, suggested that 15 per cent of residents would consider signing up to the project.

Of the estimated participating households of 16,600, only 2,800 have currently ordered a bin for their home, leaving a shortfall of almost 14,000.

Richard Hurley, cabinet member for public protection, housing and Streetsmart, said he anticipated more subscriptions throughout the year.

“The number of bins and bags ordered to support the service is based on a 20 per cent take-up rate,” he said.

“Of the residents who responded to the public consultation about this proposal, 15 per cent indicated they would likely register for the service.

“Given that the proposed cost to access the service was later significantly reduced, we decided upon this level of uptake.

“Bins and bags needed to be ordered in advance, so residents can receive them in time for the start of the new service which takes effect on March 31.

So far subscription levels have been steady and in line with expectations, considering the time of year. Residents are reminded they need to sign up by 14 March in order to receive their bin for the start of the service, although subscription is open throughout the year and we anticipate levels to increase during the Spring and summer months.”

Fay Howard, shadow lead for Streetsmart, is concerned the scheme may prove to cost the council money rather than make savings.

“The fact that only 2,800 households have subscribed for the chargeable green waste collection service is a worry, as the council will need to more than quadruple the number of subscribing households within a month in order to make its proposed saving,” she said.

“There were Labour councillors who did warn the Conservative administration that it may be more sensible to be cautious when ordering the bins because an overwhelming majority of residents were telling us that they would not subscribe to the new green waste service.

“We had suggested initially buying fewer bins to start with to see what interest there was in this new chargeable service.

“If the council fail to attract enough interest in the new green waste collection service resulting in surplus bins, then this policy could be a very expensive way to save the council money.”