09/07/2024 - Permalink

Cabinet set to agree garden waste subscription – with all recycling centres to remain open

Related topics: Climate change / environment / Highways, transport and environmental maintenance

Shropshire Council’s Cabinet is next week (17 July 2024) set to introduce an annual charge of £56 for the collection of garden waste from the kerbside – and agree that all five of the council’s household recycling centres remain open.

It follows a consultation that ran from 9 April to 20 May [2024] and asked people what they would be willing to pay for a garden waste subscription, and for their thoughts about proposals to close two recycling centres.

The plans have been put forward to help Shropshire Council makes £62m of savings.

A charge of £56 is being recommended as this is in line with the fee charged by neighbouring authorities for garden waste collection, and covers the risk of any revenue shortfall if participation levels are lower than expected.

Meanwhile all five recycling centres are set to remain open but close one day a week to help make the required savings. This is most likely to be on a Wednesday or Thursday – the least popular days for visitors – with a final decision to be made in conjunction with the council’s waste contractor Veolia.

If the changes are agreed the new garden waste subscription service would be introduced from 1 October 2024, with the annual subscription covering the period 1 October 2024 to 30 September 2025. A payment window would be open from August 2024 to March 2025.

Garden waste collections would stop from 1 October 2024 for anyone that hasn’t subscribed by this date.

From this date food waste collections would be suspended as councils cannot charge for this service. However, all councils in England must introduce a weekly food waste collections to all properties in 2026 and Shropshire would introduce a new food waste collection service by this date.

Subscribers to the garden waste service would no longer be able to put food waste in their garden bin.

Cabinet is also being asked to agree a new booking system for the recycling centres, which would help to reduce queues at busy times and encourage more recycling by enabling centre staff to better engage with visitors.

Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for waste management, said:

“I want to thank everyone who took part in our consultation. We had an incredible response and have listened carefully to what people said. It was particularly clear that people want to see all five of our recycling centres remain open.

“An annual green waste subscription charge of £56 is in line with our neighbouring councils – and will help us to make the required savings. I’m also delighted that all five of our recycling centres will remain open six days a week, something I know will be welcomed by people across the county.

“As we’ve said before, Shropshire Council is facing unprecedented financial pressure. We must make £62m of savings in 2024/25 to keep a balanced budget and our plans include difficult decisions. We must look at other ways of creating income so that we can protect essential frontline services for those residents most in need.

“Though the collection of garden waste is not a service that the council must by law provide, it is one that we want to continue to provide. And as not all residents need or want the service we would instead provide this as an opt-in chargeable service to those who need or want it.

“Some 80% of English councils already charge for garden waste collections, and many have been doing so for several years.

“The only change to the households that subscribe is that they will have to remove their food waste from their garden waste bin and the service will continue as normal.”

Householder that subscribe to the new services will be sent a special sticker to attached to their garden bin, to show collection crews which bins to empty.

The consultation attracted more than 18,000 responses, the most ever received for a Shropshire Council consultation.

There is no evidence to suggest there will be a rise in fly-tipping because of a subscription service being introduced, and other councils that have introduced similar schemes say they have not seen an increase.