North Herts brown bins: Waste charge not to be discussed at full council after scrutiny vote

North Herts Bins.

North Herts Bins. - Credit: Archant

A brown bin collection charge is still set to be implemented in North Herts by May next year, despite a complete lack of support for it and the fact it hasn’t been considered by a full North Herts District Council meeting.

The decision to charge £40 for garden waste collection was called-in by the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee yesterday evening to consider whether the council’s cabinet – which approved the decision last month – had fully considered the issue.

At last night’s meeting members from the Labour and Liberal Democrat groups argued that there were certain factors the cabinet were not aware of when casting their votes, such as the public response since the decision was made.

They also looked at the decline in recycling when Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council introduced the policy, and East Herts Council’s decision – which, unlike North Herts’, was made in full council – not to charge for the collection of garden waste.

When some councillors proposed taking the decision to full council for debate, 10 committee members voted against it, while five voted for it. The outcome was the same when it was then proposed that the it be taken back to cabinet for a second time.

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During the meeting it was scrutinised that there was not enough detail in regards to how vulnerable members of the public would be charged – whether they would need to pay full price or if a discount would be in place, as well as the detrimental impact it may have on the reputation of the council after 85 per cent of the public voted against the charge.

Labour councillor Judi Billing, who represents Hitchin Bearton ward, said after the meeting councillors had been “shut out” of any democratic process because the Conservatives had voted not to take the issue to a full council vote.

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She said: “This has been done in a disgraceful manner.”

But Tory councillors stated that only three per cent of North Herts residents responded to the consultation.

Councillor Michael Weeks said that council officers had spent a number of years and months working on the new bin contract and these plans now needed to be put in place without further delay.

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