WHAT A WASTE!: Cash-strapped council plans to axe green bins

SCRAPPED: Council proposes to scrap green bin collections
SCRAPPED: Council proposes to scrap green bin collections
  • £261 reduction in funding per person for services in Blackpool
  • £763k - Amount Fylde has lost for bin collections
  • £30 annual charge in Wyre to keep collection
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Recyclable garden waste could be sent to landfill from next spring following proposals to scrap the green bin service.

Cash-strapped town hall bosses want to axe the fortnightly green waste collections in a bid to save money in the face of heavy budget cuts.

I’m vehemently disappointed in the government because their cuts are making us do things like this.

Ruth Duffy

Residents will instead be told to use their grey bins, take their waste to their local tip, create a compost heap, or pay for a private collection.

It comes as Blackpool Council looks to save an extra £20m, following government cuts.

In Wyre, the service is also likely to be scrapped – unless residents pay an extra £30 per year per household.

Scrapping the service would save £425,000, Blackpool Council documents revealed, but the idea has been branded ‘stupid’ by opposition leader Coun Tony Williams.

He said: “The council really needs to think things out before they make stupid proposals like this.

“People understand these cuts, they are very hard, but it’s all about good management.”

Coun Williams said the council could have ‘probably’ spared the service if it had avoided ‘wasteful’ spending on projects such as the £200,000 spent on the Devonshire Road car park, now set to be closed, and the £1.1m purchase of the former Syndicate nightclub.

He added: “Do we need fortnightly green bin collections in the winter months? Rather than get rid of them completely, the council should extend it to three weeks or introduce a small charge.

“Any reduction in waste collection is going to encourage fly-tipping. People will just dump it.”

But deputy council leader Coun Gillian Campbell described the cuts as ‘unavoidable’ and added: “The service collects a small amount of waste comparable to local areas, due to the low number of green areas in the town.

“Blackpool residents have been among the hardest hit as regards to budget cuts, with the council having an estimated £261.52 less to spend for every single resident between 2011/12 and 2015/16.”

A final decision is due to be made in February, with the council currently accepting comments on its plans.

Meanwhile, residents in Wyre will be told to sign up for a £30-a-year subscription service if they want to keep their green bins collection.

The proposed charge – which has been slammed by The TaxPayers’ Alliance – is being proposed by Wyre Council to plug a £1m funding gap left when the county county decided to axe a cost-sharing agreement from 2018.

Senior councillors are expected to vote on the charge when they meet later today.

But 70 per cent of residents are expected to refuse to pay and will instead be told to take garden waste to their local tip or make compost heaps.

Since 2004, the county council has had a cost-sharing agreement with district councils to encourage more recycling.

A four-year extension was agreed last year but because ‘collections are now well established it is proposed to end these payments’ from 2018, a spokesman said.

David Borrow, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “We’ve made a four-year agreement to share the cost until March 31 2018, using funding from the county council’s reserves.

“Any extra charges to residents for the collection of waste being introduced before 2018 is therefore not the result of any reduction in funding from the county council.

“We’re funding a review of waste collections to help district councils identify efficiency savings, but the review will not be completed until February so they do not currently know if it will establish alternative efficiency savings.”

Blackpool does not get any financial help with its collections because it is a unitary authority.

TaxPayers’ Alliance boss Jonathan Isaby said: “Waste collection is one of the most essential services a council provides.

“Introducing charges means many taxpayers will feel they are paying twice for the service.”

In a report penned by Wyre Council’s parks and open spaces boss Coun David Henderson and director for people and places Michael Ryan, it was also revealed:

• The council could fail to hit government recycling targets;

• Gardeners and handymen will be banned from using the service and must pay commercial rates;

• Benefit recipients will not get a discount and those moving home won’t be able to transfer their subscription or get a refund;

• The scheme will cost £100,000 to set up and could leave the council even further in the red if nobody agrees to pay; and

• With just three in 10 people expected to sign up, there are fears recyclable waste will be dumped in black bins headed for 
landfills.

Leader of the opposition at Tory-run Wyre Council, Ruth Duffy, said: “If I was just a resident I would be up in arms and saying it’s not fair because I pay my council tax, but I know the implications of keeping within budgets.

“I’m vehemently disappointed in the government because their cuts are making us do things like this.”

Coun Duffy said she expects the majority of residents would ‘abide by the rules’ by disposing of their waste properly but added: “The minority will fly-tip or put their garden waste in black bin bags.”

Coun Henderson said: “We had no choice but to look at changing how we operate due to Lancashire County council ending a cost-sharing agreement, resulting in a loss of £980,000 to 
Wyre.

“Despite requests to reconsider or scale down the withdrawal of funding to lessen the impact, the decision has been made.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys Conservative MP Paul Maynard said: “If this is the only way of maintaining this service, then I understand why Wyre is proposing it.

“Lancashire County Council is not delivering what people are paying their county council tax for.”