ROYAL Wootton Bassett residents are facing changes to the collection of their green waste just two years after the introduction of a free fortnightly service.

Since February 2012 garden waste has been collected by Wiltshire Council from the kerbside in the town every fortnight for free, but now the council has asked residents to share their views on three new proposals to change the existing service.

The proposals include: l A three-month suspension of the kerbside garden waste service with no collections taking place in December, January and February l A five-month suspension of the kerbside garden waste service with no collections taking place in November, December, January, February and March l Or the introduction of a chargeable kerbside garden waste collection service of £35 per bin each year instead of the current service.

The news that the council is considering changes to the collection of green waste has surprised keen gardener David Woollett.

The 66-year-old, who has lived in the town for 40 years, said: “I have had green waste collection for quite a few years now and it was only up to about this time a couple of years ago that they stopped charging.

“We had to pay a set charge each year for the first bin and we could optionally have a second bin at a reduced cost, so obviously I was very happy when the changes meant we didn’t have to pay.

“If it came to choosing whether to pay for the service or to cut it then I would reluctantly pay. Especially in a small garden, it just gets really difficult without it.

“It seems strange they might go back on their decision so soon but I know that they are trying to cut back on spending.”

The changes have been suggested in an attempt to help reduce the cost of the service and save the council thousands of pounds.

Toby Sturgis, cabinet member responsible for waste management at Wiltshire Council, 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.

“These changes will not always be easy, so we want to involve local people in any decisions we make to ensure people have a chance to have their say.”

Under the current service only 10 per cent of green waste is collected between December and February, and 25 per cent is collected between November and March.

Household recycling centres in Wiltshire will continue to accept garden waste, and the council will continue to provide subsidised compost bins.

Residents have until September 1 to share their views, when the consultation will end.

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