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Introduction of Green Bin Collection Charges Proposed

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NEW charges for green bin collections could be introduced in Reading if proposals are given the go-ahead later this month (September 26th).

Unlike many neighbouring areas, householders in Reading currently have garden waste collected for free from their doorstep. Unprecedented Government cuts to Council funding however, mean Reading Borough Council is now having to consider following neighbouring authorities in charging for the service.

It is one of a number of measures the Council is being forced to consider as it tackles an estimated funding gap of over £41 million to 2020. £65 million worth of savings have already been made since 2011.

Policy Committee members are being asked to agree the introduction of a £50 a year collection charge per green bin from 1st April 2017, and an annual £15 charge for householders who use bags to recycle garden waste. A 25 per cent discount would apply in a concessionary scheme which is still being finalised.

The Council’s garden waste collection scheme is an ‘opt-in’ service. A total of 16,228 properties in Reading currently take advantage of the scheme by recycling their garden waste every fortnight in either green bins, or re-usable bags in smaller properties.

The free current service is subsidised by the Council at a cost of £300,000 a year. This means householders who do not take part in the scheme are effectively subsidising the service through their council tax. Severe financial constraints means the Council is no longer in a position to subsidise a free service.

Neighbouring Wokingham Borough Council already charges £60 a year for garden waste collections, Bracknell Forest Council £40 a year and Oxford City Council £46 per year.

Councillor Liz Terry, Reading’s Lead Member for Neighbourhoods, said:

“I know Reading’s green waste collection service is valued by very many households as it is such an easy way to dispose of garden waste from your doorstep. It has been a free service since it was introduced nearly 10 years ago, but the unprecedented cuts in Government funding unfortunately mean this is no longer viable.

“Around a third of local councils nationally currently charge for the collection of green waste, including the majority of the other Berkshire authorities, many of which introduced charges some years ago.

“Nobody likes having to start paying for something which was previously free, but I hope residents who use the service will consider it a reasonable price to pay for such a good and convenient service.”

The Council’s current one-off payment of £36.10 for the initial supply of a green bin and £11.35 for a bag would continue.

For the full September 26th Policy Committee report go to: http://www.reading.gov.uk/media/5981/item09B/pdf/item09B.pdf