A CHARGE of up to £40 a year to collect garden waste is being planned by Wealden District Council.
Garden waste collections are currently provided every two weeks and the service is included within residents’ council tax along with general waste and recycling collections.
However, changes are being made to the way the local councils manage waste collections and a deal to privatise the system is being jointly put in place by Wealden, Eastbourne Borough Council, Rother District Council and Hastings Borough Council.
The councils have all signed up to the joint waste contract, which means a private company will take over the waste collections for all four local authorities.
Wealden’s controversial plan to charge for garden waste has been put forward to raise £2 million a year for the council and the three other authorities. That saving is based on a charge of £30 a year, assuming one in five people signed up to the scheme.
If the plan is given the green light, residents will have the choice of composting their garden waste, taking it to the tip, or paying the charge to have it collected.
The idea to charge for garden collections, which council officers have recommended be approved, was due to be discussed by leader Bob Standley’s cabinet last week.
But the debate was postponed until June to give councillors more time to weigh up the pros and cons.
Cllr Bob Standley, leader of Wealden District Council, said, “No decision has been made with regard to Wealden charging for the collection of garden waste.
“The proposed waste contract is likely to widen the range of items collected at the kerbside. However, with a limit on the funds available not all aspirations can be satisfied.
“Garden waste is not produced by all households, for example flats, and it is an option to make a charge for this service.
“Once all the information is available then the council will make a decision.”
The Herald understands there have been rumours that the other councils, including Eastbourne, will also charge for garden waste collections.
Cllr Steve Wallis, cabinet portfolio holder for the environment, said, “It is important to make absolutely clear that the free collection service for green waste in Eastbourne will continue unchanged.
“Since the introduction of completely free green waste collections in 2011, recycling rates in the town have trebled from 5 per cent to 15 per cent and there are now 25,000 local households taking advantage of the scheme. This is a major success story for Eastbourne and one we intend to maintain for the long-term.”
l What do you think about Wealden’s plans? Visit www.eastbourneherald.co.uk to have your say.