People can now sign up to register an interest in joining Suffolk Coastal’s Garden Waste Collection Service.
At its Cabinet meeting in December 2017, Suffolk Coastal decided to introduce a charge for collecting garden waste from homes during next financial year (2018/19).
People in Suffolk Coastal will be given the option of paying an annual charge of £43 per garden waste bin (the equivalent of paying about £1.65 per fortnightly collection).
This is a completely voluntary scheme, which people will have to opt to join (rather than residents automatically becoming part of the scheme).
The first paid-for collections are scheduled to start from the beginning of May 2018, with local residents able to subscribe for the new service from 1 March 2018 and we will email them when the subscription service is live.
However, in the meantime, people can register their interest by completing a simple online form.
“The reality is that Suffolk Coastal District Council protected the ‘free’ collection of garden waste for as long as it could,” explained Cllr Carol Poulter, Suffolk Coastal’s Cabinet Member for the Green Environment.
“In 2015, when most of the councils across Suffolk and Norfolk introduced charging, we decided to maintain the ‘free’ garden waste collection service and to bear the cost of reduced Recycling Performance Payment support, despite the financial pressures on the Council.”
“However, at the time, we did recognise that this is a discretionary service that we provide and we always said we would have to keep this decision under review.”
Suffolk Coastal District Council is under increasing pressure financially, with dwindling support from central Government. Next year (2018/19), we are faced with a budget gap of over £2.8 million.
Providing the organic waste collection and composting service currently costs Suffolk Coastal over £1.2 million a year. This cost has been exacerbated by the £200,000 per year reduction in support for recycling organic waste previously provided by Suffolk County Council.
The East Suffolk Business Plan identifies the need for us to become increasingly financially-self-sufficient in the future.
“The key thing that people need to realise is that this is about us protecting local services and being able to keep Council Tax increases down to a minimum. Any funds raised from the garden waste collection service will be re-invested in providing services to local people and reducing our budget gap,” said Cllr Poulter.
“Suffolk Coastal remains committed to an ambitious programme of community-based and major capital investments, such as the current leisure redevelopment, in the coming years. So we need to continue to identify strong income streams, now and in the future.”
Later in the year, subscribers to the scheme will also be given the option of receiving a free, larger (240 litre) green bin for their garden waste (240 litres is the most common wheeled bin size, but the current brown organic waste bins in Suffolk Coastal are 140 litres).
The new, larger green bins are expected to be delivered during the autumn (2018) to those residents who request one and have subscribed to the garden waste service.