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Garden waste fee from Preston City Council to increase for first time in years

Posted on - 16th December, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston Council, Preston News
Preston Council Town Hall Pic: Tony Worrall
Preston Council Town Hall Pic: Tony Worrall

The fee households have to pay to have their garden waste collected in Preston is set to rise for the first time in six years.

Preston City Council will increase the annual charge from the current rate of £35 to £40 from April 2024. The authority’s cabinet approved the hike after hearing that the cost of delivering the fortnightly service had risen “significantly” since the last time it went up in spring 2018.

A report listed staff salaries and vehicle running costs as the main pressures on the budget for the city’s brown bin operation, along with the occasional need to fund overtime payments during the peak summer period in order to ensure all of the collection rounds are completed.

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Had the council opted not to increase the charge, the service would have been running at a loss – meaning that a subsidy would have been required from the authority’s coffers.

The green waste charges levied by other Lancashire councils range from being free up to a yearly fee of £44. According to the cabinet report, five other authorities in the county currently charge more than £40.

Preston is not expecting its price rise to have “any significant impact” on the number of people who sign up for the service – and so no knock-on effect on the environment.

Cabinet member for the environment and community safety, Freddie Bailey, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The garden waste scheme is an opt-in subscription service and, as such, the rise only affects those households receiving garden waste collections. This is a small rise and still compares relatively favourably to other districts across Lancashire and is the first increase since 2018-19.

“Over a number of years, the council has been dealing with challenging budget savings in a climate of rising costs and so must make some difficult decisions around income generation, despite continuing struggles for some of our residents.

“We appreciate there are alternative methods of disposing of garden waste – for example, home composting or using household waste recycling centres – but believe we offer a well-run, good value for money service for households with gardens across Preston,” Cllr Bailey added.

A discount for households that registered early each year for green waste collection was scrapped in 2020. Cabinet members were told that, since then, the retail price index measure of inflation had increased by 19.8 per cent, while the now agreed fee increase equated to 14.3 per cent over the same period.

The price rise will generate an estimated £110,000, taking the income generated from the service to a predicted £880,000 for 2024/25.

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