Wigan bucking the trend on recycling fees
Wigan Council says it is “bucking the trend” by keeping recycling services free to use, after new data revealed some local authorities are charging up to £100 a year.
The town hall’s green pledge came in the wake of new analysis by the BBC which found a disparity in charges across different councils.
While the Government has been consulting on whether households in England should receive free garden waste collections, critics say gardeners are “increasingly being punished” and have described charges as a “quiet green-garden tax which seems to go against every other positive environmental initiative that the UK is trying to promote”.
The collection of garden waste is not currently a statutory service, and the government says that charging for collections is “at the discretion of local authorities”.
Of the 368 local authorities in the UK which offer regular kerb side collections of domestic garden waste, 217 (59 per cent) charge annually.
Wigan Council does not charge for its green waste services, saying its decision to keep services free was encouraging residents to keep up their high recycling rates.
Coun Carl Sweeney, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “We want to make sure our green-fingered community are not penalised for helping us become more environmentally sustainable.
“As many other local authorities charge for garden waste collections, Wigan Council is bucking the trend but in order to keep services free, we continue to encourage residents to recycle more recycle right and to dispose of waste in the correct bin.
“By keeping recycling rates high, not only do we help the environment but it also means that our council tax can be kept low as part of The Deal.
“Recycling garden and food waste in the green bin has a very important role to play in helping grow our future food when it is turned into compost.
“I would like to thank residents for their continued support with recycling and for doing their bit for the environment.”
For further information on what can and can’t go in each bin, or to request a kitchen caddy if you want to start recycling, visit: www.wigan.gov.uk/recycling
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) this year carried out a consultation on consistency in household and business recycling collections in England.
In the consultation, it said the transition cost of introducing a free garden waste collection service would be £229m over seven years
The Government says it believes that providing a regular kerbside collection service is the “best way” to increase recycling of garden waste.
It has asked for opinions on the possibility of all councils in England providing the service free of charge from 2023.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said if free garden waste collections became mandatory then “the government will have to pay the full new burden’s cost”.
Coun David Renard, environment spokesman for the LGA, said: “Ultimately, garden waste collection has to be paid for by someone. It’s only fair that those households which have gardens and generate the waste pay for the service.”