‘Garden tax’ row erupts over collection charges

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DETAILS have been revealed of charges for Sheffield residents wishing to continue with kerbside green waste collections – which were immediately branded a ‘garden tax’ by opposition councillors.

Households who currently have green wheelie bins will be able to retain them and pay a £57.60 annual fee for them to be emptied regularly.

Other residents will be able to pay £12 for collection of 10 green sacks.

But there are concerns the scheme will not work.

Peter Sides, secretary of Rodney Hill Allotments, Loxley, said: “If the council and contractor Veolia start charging these amounts, a lot of people will simply put their green waste in the black bin or it will be fly-tipped.

“I don’t think the idea will work. If you are on a low income, you won’t want to pay extra.”

Mr Sides said the council should instead consider schemes such as one his allotment is operating, where residents can deposit their garden waste free of charge between midday and 3pm on Saturdays for composting.

Lib Dem councillors, who have called for the free green waste service to be retained, partly funded by cut in council managers to save £1 million, attacked the charges.

Coun Ian Auckland, shadow cabinet member for environment, said: “At a time when Sheffielders will be receiving their council tax bill, Labour councillors plan to hit residents with an extra garden tax of up to £58.

“This will be a kick in the teeth for many families, particularly as they face losing their weekly black bin collection.

“Free city-wide garden waste collections have been hugely popular since they were introduced by the Lib Dems. We put forward a plan to save the service, but Labour councillors were more interested in protecting their fat cat pals in the Town Hall.”

Labour has said it was necessary to remove the free garden waste collections, which have cost £1.5m a year, so spending cuts to other services affecting vulnerable people do not have to be as severe – and blame the Government for the decision.

Households will be offered one final free green waste collection.