£40 fee to empty garden waste bins proposed in Shropshire
Taxpayers in Shropshire could be charged £40 to have their garden waste bins emptied under council plans.
The idea for the annual garden waste charge was mooted in the latest full Shropshire Council meeting and could potentially bring in £1.5 million for the authority.
However the council is not able to implement any changes this year due to its current waste disposal contract with Veolia.
Garden waste is currently collected from bins on kerbsides across the borough every fortnight, along with recyclable glass, cans, plastic, paper and cardboard.
Food waste is also accepted in garden bins in the former north Shropshire, south Shropshire and Shrewsbury and Atcham districts.
Conservative leader of the council, councillor Peter Nutting, insists the council will look into the idea in the long term
He said: "That is for the future, it is not part of the next financial strategy but we will look into it to see if it is viable the year after.
"We will only do it if it is sensible to do it. Previous cabinet members have said we should have already done it, it sounds easy to go out and charge for it, but there is no point in doing it unless we get the money for ourselves at Shropshire Council."
However Green Party councillor for Porthill, Julian Dean, said the charge would not add a substantial amount of money to the council budget.
"I think it will deter people from gardening, and it could hit people who are on low incomes," Councillor Dean said.
"The best way to deposit garden waste is to use it for composting at home, that is the best way to do it, rather than move the waste all across the county, which is what will happen if this comes in.
"Garden waste can be used as a good resource in the area, particularly looking at Shrewsbury to help the flowers in the town.
"I think people would sign up to it, but it would bring in pennies compared to the budget the council has."
A spokesman for Shropshire Council said a period of public consultation would need to take place before any new charges could be implemented.
The spokesman said: "Any proposals to charge for garden waste collection in the Shropshire Council area would need to be approved by Defra in line with the terms of the waste PFI contract.
"If this approval is granted, and if the potential benefits are significant, a period of public consultation would then be held to inform people and seek their views.
"We would also need to discuss the provision of the service with our contractor Veolia."
In Telford and Wrekin, garden waste can be put straight into green bins for kerbside collection or it can be taken the any household waste recycling centres.
In Powys, it can also go to community recycling sites or household waste centres, however commercial gardeners cannot use the sites without a permit.
Powys Council also encourages residents to compost at home and has an option to buy a composting bin online for £20.
Information on the council website states that a last resort for garden waste is purchasing orange plastic bags to put the waste in, for it to be collected by the kerbside collection, which then goes straight to landfill.