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Have your say on future garden waste collection

Residents are being asked for their comments on a proposal to introduce a charge for people who want to continue to have their garden waste (brown bin) collected from next April.

Brown Bin

The charge is seen as necessary because of cuts in central government funding and the need to make significant savings.

Under the proposal, residents would need to "opt in" if they wanted to continue to have their garden waste collected.

The go-ahead for the consultation was given by the council's Cabinet at the end of May. Members approved it after considering a report setting out the proposals in detail.

In the report, Mark Mathews, head of environmental services, said the '3-bin system' waste collection service provided by the council since 2006 included the free collection of garden waste.

"It costs more than £700,000 each year to provide this free service to all Fenland properties," he said. "With reductions in Government funding creating ever increasing pressure to find further savings, considerations such as charging for services that have previously been offered for free becomes necessary."

The council says that charging a fee would enable the service to be "self-funding" and also bring it into line with more than half the other local authorities in the eastern region.

Evidence obtained from other authorities indicated that the charge per bin for the service in the first year should be set at £40 if the scheme was to be self-funding.

Initial estimates for the take-up of the scheme are that 40 per cent of existing customers could join, producing up to 80 per cent of the current waste.

It is proposed that the charge would be reviewed each year. It could go up or down, depending on how many people signed up.

A fixed number of "early bird" discounts are proposed for residents who sign up for the charge before it comes into effect in April 2017.

The consultation document will be available online at www.fenland.gov.uk/gardenwaste from June 10 until July 31. It includes a list of frequently asked questions. Hard copies will be available in all four Fenland@your service shops and community hubs. They will also be delivered to all households around the end of June.