A bin tax on those wanting to recycle their garden waste in Preston looks likely to be introduced.Advertisement
Preston City Council has been handed a new savings target from Whitehall which will trigger another £4million in cutbacks from the Town Hall beyond 2017.
Councillors are now being forced to consider major changes including levying a £30 per year charge on every garden waste bin (the brown ones) in the city.
Tens of thousands of households would need to pay the charge, and also no longer be able to recycle their food waste.
Plans drawn up by the city council show how the new charge, which would fall to £25 if paid via direct debit, would raise £350,000 in the first year of operation and rise to £519,000 in the second year.
Bin collection lorries are fitted with ‘smart devices’ which would know which households had paid the charge.
A council spokesman confirmed no bins in Preston contained computer chips, which can track bin usage, and there were no plans to fit them.
Brown bins were first introduced in 2001 and currently 46,000 households out of 61,000 homes have brown bin collections.
The proposal includes households placing a sticker on their brown bin to indicate they have paid.
The fee would be on a per bin basis, so households with more than one brown bin would need to pay an additional fee.
Food waste recycling would be withdrawn as the city council says it ‘has no statutory obligation to collect food waste’.
If approved, the green waste charge could come into force from July this year.
A statement from the city council on the latest government funding settlement said: “The simple fact is that this settlement our expenditure will exceed our income by approximately £4 million per annum and the Council must take steps to address that situation.
“This is in addition to the £3.6m per annum of savings we will have delivered by the end of 2017.”
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Councillor Martyn Rawlinson, cabinet member for finances and resources, defended the bin charge proposal.
He said: “We have to make these decision because of the devastating cutbacks we are facing.
“This is a 50p per week charge for a service.”
Early budget proposals from the council also include offloading the cost of running the city centre CCTV.
This would transfer to Lancashire Police and save £25,000 in the first year for the council, with an additional £50,000 in the 2017-18 financial year.
Even if both changes were to go ahead it would still leave the city council with a further £3million of savings or extra revenue to raise.
Residents in Preston are being asked to give their views on the budget proposals.
The full budget plan is available to view on the city council website. It runs until Sunday 31 January and comments will be given to councillors at a meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday 3 February. Any budget proposals would need to be agreed by a full council meeting in late February or early March before being introduced.
What do you think of the proposed bin tax? Do you use your brown bin? Let us know your views in the comments below