BREAKING NEWS: Council considers charging for green bins collection

Harborough District Council has launched a consultation over its fortnightly bin collections.
Harborough District Council has launched a consultation over its fortnightly bin collections.

Residents could be charged to have their green bins collected and see their black bins collected only once every three weeks as part of a huge overhaul of the service being considered by Harborough District Council.

Other major changes to the service, which would affect more than 80,000 people across the Harborough district, could include the return of the failed food-waste collections and green bins only being collected at certain times of the year.

The consultation, titled “Future delivery of your waste, recycling, street cleaning and grounds maintenance services”, has already come under-fire, mainly because it has been released with little fanfare.

It was published seven days’ ago but no supporting press releases have been issued to draw people’s attention to it.

Cllr Phil Knowles, the leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group on the district council, has asked council chiefs for an explanation as to why the consultation was launched with scant publicity.

He said: “The whole thing has been lying on the council website since July 1 but why on earth has there been no press releases or anything about it?”

Cllr Knowles added: “Very few people are aware of the consultation. It is seemingly exploring the possibility of a once-every-three-weeks black bin collection, charging for green bin collections and only collecting it at certain times of the year – and the revisiting of the failed food-waste option.

“All have the potential to impact considerably on each household in the district and yet little has been done to even tell the public that the consultation is underway.”

The council states on its website, under the ‘consultations’ tab: “With the challenges facing public finances, we must reduce the cost for waste and recycling collections within the district and we are currently researching options for how this could be delivered.

“We aim to ensure a high-quality collection service for our residents, although if costs need to be reduced how the service is currently delivered will need to change.

“We have a responsibility to collect your residual waste (black bin) and recycling (blue-lidded bin), although we do not have to collect garden waste (green bin).

“Collection of all your waste and recycling is currently collected alternatively, every two weeks.

“As one of our most important services, we would like to know what you would like from your waste and recycling service in the future.

“To help us understand this, please complete our questionnaire to tell us your thoughts on the future delivery of waste, recycling, street cleaning and grounds maintenance services where you live.”

People have until Saturday, August 1, to make comments.

While completing the online survey, the council goes on to say:

“We are considering if we need to change how often we collect your waste and recyclables from you home.”

It asks if people would accept their black bin being collecting once every three weeks.

Question four of the survey states: “Previously, we operated a food waste collection service. Food waste collection is now becoming more popular as it is easier for residents to use; there is no longer a need for special bags/inserts; and it has environmental benefits as it can be treated to generate methane that is burnt to generate electricity.”

The council’s brown ‘caddie’ scheme for food-waste was introduced on May 4, 2010, but it proved to be under-used and more expensive.

Waste management bosses thought it would cost £29,574 a year to run but actual annual costs soared to £48,595.

Under the scheme, which was axed in the autumn of 2012, residents were given a small brown ‘caddie’ for their kitchen and were then expected to transfer the waste from the caddie into a larger brown bin outside.

Under question five of its new survey, the council states: “We are considering the feasibility of charging for the garden waste collection and also considering reducing this service to a fortnightly seasonal collection.”

It asks if people would be willing to pay £40, £45 or £50 a year for the service.