North Herts and East Herts councils set to decide on ‘brown bin tax’ as 85 per cent disagree with plans

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 October 2017 | UPDATED: 17:23 14 October 2017

North Herts Bins.

North Herts Bins.

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Results from a survey which asked North Herts residents for their views on a so-called ‘brown bin tax’ has seen 85 per cent of the respondents disagree with the plans.

North Herts District Council and its counterparts in East Herts have been working together to come up with ways of reducing the cost of waste collection in the two districts.

Suggestions include charging to remove garden waste, with both authorities set to make a decision at a joint cabinet meeting on Monday.

NHDC leader Lynda Needham said: “Between both councils we have received 8,000 responses on our future waste and recycling contract.

“We are very grateful for residents’ feedback as this will help inform councillors’ decisions on options for the service.

“While 85 per cent of residents disagreed with introducing a chargeable garden waste service alongside weekly food waste collections, this is not an entirely unexpected result as research from other councils who have introduced green waste charging produced similar figures.

“Of course this represents a large proportion of residents and we will take this into account in our decision making.”

North Herts District Council’s overview and scrutiny committee held a meeting last week to discuss these proposals for the new waste and recycling contract.

Committee member and Hitchin Walsworth councillor Elizabeth Dennis took to Facebook and said: “I was disappointed that officers’ response on garden waste was that they had only a mere duty to consult.

“This simply isn’t good enough. Dismissing the views of 85 per cent of the respondents out of hand in making a recommendation to cabinet to introduce a charge which it’s acknowledged could disadvantage the most vulnerable in our district, and have negative environmental impacts is not good enough.

“We know it’s tough, we know there’s £4 million of budget savings to be made. But really, what’s the point in consultation if it’s not going to be considered in the project? Hardly efficient.”

Councillor Steve Jarvis, leader of the North Herts Liberal Democrats, said of the scrutiny meeting on his blog: “There was an admission that the officers expected that the public would opposed green waste charges, but they apparently thought that asking the question and then ignoring the answer would (a) fulfill the council’s duty to consult and (b) cause less trouble than not asking people.

“I managed to secure a recommendation to the cabinet that they should recognise the considerable opposition to green waste charges and consider this before making any decision on whether to introduce them.

“This was watered down somewhat by the Conservative councillors adding that if they decided to go ahead they should carefully explain the reasons.”

The North Herts Liberal Democrats group has also set up an online petition calling on the public to help ‘stop the brown bin tax’ – see www.northhertslibdems.org.uk/bintax.

The joint cabinet meeting is being held at the East Hertfordshire District Council offices in Hertford from 7pm on Monday.

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