£42 for annual garden waste charge in Waveney
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A £42 charge is to be introduced from next year for garden waste collections in Waveney, it has been revealed.
Waveney District Council (WDC) said it had been 'put in an almost impossible position' by a huge reduction in Recycling Performance Payments, worth up to £790,000 per year, from Suffolk County Council. The reduction followed discussions between district councils within the Suffolk Waste Partnership, of which WDC is a member.
Stephen Ardley, cabinet member for operational services at WDC, said that was 'burdening us with an additional six figure cost' - something the council says is not financially viable.
'This is something we wish we did not have to do and we completely understand, while £42 per year is a relatively small amount, that any charge for a previously free service is frustrating,' he said. 'But the combination of increased costs and reduced income is a burden we cannot bear.'
Mr Ardley pointed to the wider picture of cuts to government funding putting the council in a 'challenging position'.
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'We are now facing a budget shortfall of around £4.5million and to ensure we are able to continue to deliver essential services to those in greatest need, we are having to make difficult decisions. This is one such decision,' he said.
'We hope therefore, however disappointing this may be, that residents can understand the reason for making this decision which, we can promise, was not taken lightly.'
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Once it is brought in, subject to review, the charge will remain frozen for two to three years. Some residents have criticised the move. Tony Gower, from Black Street, Gisleham, said: 'No matter how it is presented, it amounts to an increase in council tax.'And John Soanes, from Meadowland, Blundeston, said: 'There will be many households who refuse to pay and not use the bin.'
Letters - Pages 28-29