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The Executive of South Hams District Council has agreed that residents wanting to have garden waste collections should be charged for the service from spring 2023, with the current service potentially set to cease from 31 October.
The final decision will now be made at South Hams’ Full Council meeting tomorrow, Thursday, 22 September. If the full council agrees to cease the service, the council would collect all brown bins on their last collection day in October.
With rising costs and a continued driver shortage across the nation, the council is "considering every option to ensure that the core waste and recycling collection service can remain as smooth as possible" when it comes back in-house on 3 October.
When we first reported the removal of the brown bin collections, there was flurry of comments, mainly resigned to the fact this was going to happen sooner or later.
Katie Constantin said: "They might actually be collected If they charge. They've missed more than they've managed to collect here", while Marguerite Pritchard added: "Not really surprising. It's not a service they are obliged to provide, and there are more essential services which need funding."
Peter Stanford commented, saying: "I knew it was going to happen because [SHDC] categorically denied it six months ago when I posed this very question.
"The first point has to be what provision [has SHDC] made for the massive increase in traffic at waste collection points like Torr Quarry? It cannot cope now with moderate usage. Simply chucking your garden waste onto a small concrete slab, for it to be removed by a digger every 40 minutes just won't work. It is quite the most primitive system imaginable.
"The whole road system will need upgrading. Or, as I suspect this useless council most likely will do, they will wait until the system breaks down, then rush through an ineffective fix. I guarantee farmers will be finding fly tipping in their field gates within weeks. This is such a shambles. I would point out that at the moment the garden waste is 'an offer' as you yourselves told me hence no compensation from FCC for being useless.
"Once you charge, it becomes a contract and you will be open to compensation for lack of performance. Just saying."
Linda Baker said: "Disappointing to say the least after the abysmal service over the last two years plus!!", while David Cooper asked: "First year free to make up for all the missed collections?????"
Others pointed out that other places have had charges for their brown bin service for a while. Suzanne Rodgerssaid: "Other counties charge. I think we paid £60 for a year in Dorset and they collected every other week. I have no problem paying this sort of fee if they collect it regularly and stick to the service!"
Reggie Ellis said: "Charges in North Northamptonshire but a good fortnightly collection. Surprised it was free!" while Dorothy Einon added: "Charges in Brighton. Collected once a fortnight. You pay for each bin separately."
The council says it will "inherit increased operating costs and have to contend with inflation in the price of fuel and wages, as well the need for additional resources" and that introducing a charge for the garden waste collections, which is a discretionary service, not a statutory one, would "ease the overall cost pressures on the council".
One inspired comment from Elizabeth Evans was: "So...let's set up some community composting!?"
A spokesperson for the council said: "As well as easing financial pressures, ceasing the current service from 31 October would also ease pressure on the core waste and recycling collections, helping to keep those as stable as possible in the early months of the transition.
"Previously the council had not charged separately for the service, but the decision brings them in line with most other districts in Devon, who already charge separately for garden waste collections. Plymouth City Council recently took the decision to end their garden waste collections early this year to ease their own budget pressures."
Cllr Keith Baldry, South Hams Executive Member for the Environment, said: “We know that the potential removal of the unpaid garden waste collections will be disappointing news to many of our residents, particularly given the cost of living crisis that the country finds itself in.
"However, to enable us to keep delivering and improving the core waste and recycling services, it is clear that charging for garden waste collections has now become a necessity.
“Due to inflation and rising costs, the reality is that we will have to start charging for the service.”
Residents can take their garden waste to all three recycling centres in the South Hams. Full details, including opening hours, are available online here: www.devon.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling/centre/
Alternatively, people can find out more on home composting possibilities here: www.recycledevon.org/in-the-garden/how-to-compost
Keep up to date on the latest here: https://southhams.gov.uk/recyclingwaste
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