‘Garden waste charge is lesser evil’ says Ryedale District Council

Gazette & Herald: . .

CHARGING for garden waste collections is the lesser of two evils, according to district council officers.

Ryedale District Council’s corporate director Paul Cresswell said the authority was facing difficult decisions as to whether to cut services or introduce charges.

“The charge is estimated to save the council £280,000, which is a really big saving against the background of Government funding cuts of 25 per cent each year,” he said. “We have to come up with savings although it is a difficult decision.”

The district council decided to introduce a charge for collecting garden waste last month despite concerns from some councillors.

Charges of £27 will be introduced from next June increasing to £36 the following year. Mr Cresswell said about a third of district councils across the country were introducing similar charges.

“This is an optional service which people need to opt into to get their garden waste collected,” he said.

“Before it is implemented we have a lot of work to do and early next year we will be contacting residents about the plans and explaining how it will work and how they could pay.”

Mr Cresswell said they were learning lessons from other authorities, including Craven in North Yorkshire, which had already implemented the charge.

“When people understand what is being done they are more excepting and while we realise people don’t want to pay for something they previously got for free, they would lose a lot of services if we didn’t do it. We faced the same issues when fortnightly bin collections were introduced, but now every authority does it and I would say that within five to 10 years every council will charge for garden waste collections.”

Janet Waggott, chief executive of Ryedale District Council, said the council wanted to reassure residents that any information it issued would be available through a variety of options and not just the internet.

“There have been some concerns, as there always is with change, but we do know our community and the information we put out will not be solely dependent on people having internet access,” she said.

Councillor Linda Cowling, the leader of the council, said the composting needed to be encouraged.

“This has to be the first option as green waste lorries only travel four miles to the gallon,” she said.

“We should all be composting as much as we can and taking up the offers available for composting bins.”

Coun Cowling said: “As a group, we decided to retain services as far as possible. Other areas that have the charge have found it has been very successful with about a third of people taking it up.”

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