Will councillors reconsider South Gloucestershire’s controversial ‘green bin tax’?

greeny binCouncillors will meet next Wednesday night to debate the controversial annual charge for the collection of green bins in South Gloucestershire that was introduced in April.

And they are being advised that if they “reconsider” the charge, they “need to be mindful of the financial and service implications of such a decision”.

Collections were previously paid for as part of council tax bills, and the so-called ‘bin tax’ of £36 a year for households wanting their green waste to still be collected has been met with some hostility, as readers of our letters pages will know.

A petition endorsed by Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore and signed by 4,220 people from his constituency calling for the council to reconsider the charge triggered the debate.

A report going to next Wednesday’s Communities Committee says the new service has in fact exceeded initial take-up estimates, with 33,000 subscriptions – 10,000 more than anticipated.

But that still leaves an estimated 76,000 green unwanted green bins which, if they were all handed back, would undoubtedly cause a headache for the council.

The charges were approved in February as part of the cost-cutting budget but the Conservatives branded it a “stealth tax”, claiming that Labour and Lib Dem councillors voted for it without proper consultation with residents.

The Conservatives warned it would lead to increased fly-tipping, decreased recycling rates and animosity between neighbours.

The report going to the Communities Committee tells councillors that they would need to identify alternative measures to replace the associated savings and investments made to date.

The meeting is at 6pm at Kingswood Civic Centre.