Live in Stafford borough? You’ve got to pay £36 to get your garden waste collected


Stafford Borough residents who want their garden waste collected will have to start paying £36 a year from January after a controversial new charge was given the green light.

The new permit scheme was first proposed by Stafford Borough Council in 2019 as part of changes to its waste and recycling service.

Neighbouring South Staffordshire Council also proposed a green waste charge last year of £43.60 for an annual permit. Demand for this service has significantly exceeded expectation, South Staffordshire councillors were told this week.

But in Stafford Borough, where some councillors said in 2019 the scheme was equivalent to a tax rise, criticism of the charge has continued.

At Tuesday’s full Stafford Borough Council meeting member Ralph Cooke said: “This is effectively a stealth tax. I can guess the council has to raise money but doing it this way is regressive.

“This charge will have a greater impact on lower income families and that’s what people will face during this pandemic. During this time of great problems and unemployment you are going to slap another £36 on their bills.”

Councillor Jack Kemp raised concerns about fly tipping, while Councillor Tony Pearce spoke of a potential increase in garden waste going to incinerators if it was mixed with general domestic rubbish.

But the meeting was told that residents who did not want to use the garden waste collection service would not have to sign up, meaning they would not have to pay the annual fee.

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Councillor Jonathan Price, cabinet member for environment, said: “Council tax has never paid for a brown bin collection, we have provided it for free. We are one of the last authorities to introduce brown bin charging – 70% have.

“Some authorities don’t collect brown bins at all. We have no legal obligation to provide the service.”

The £36 permit cost – plus an extra £25 for delivery of any additional garden waste bin – was approved at Tuesday’s meeting as part of the council’s fees and charges for 2021, which come into force from January 1.

Speaking after the meeting Councillor Price said: ““I have been proud of the fact this council was in the minority to the rest of the country by not charging our residents for their garden waste collection – so this has been a very difficult decision to take.

“Most people appreciate the difficulties councils find themselves in financially and by asking for an annual contribution we can ensure those who use the brown bin service can continue to receive it.

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“By charging people who use this service we are able to help balance our budgets and protect other essential frontline services that our community relies on.”

Residents who want to continue having their garden waste collected in 2021 can sign up for the service now by visiting www.staffordbc.gov.uk/brownbin.

Those who do not sign up will still be able to take their garden trimmings to the household waste recycling centres in Stafford and Stone or compost at home.

Brown bin questions and answers

What can be put in the brown bin?

Leaves, small branches, twigs and bark, grass cuttings, cut flowers, plants and weeds with excess soil shaken off and hedge clippings.

Do not put soil, turf, stones or rubble in the brown bin.

When will my brown bin be collected?

Brown bins are collected on the same day as your blue bin collection. Once you have paid the £36 brown bin collection charge a garden waste permit will be posted to you.

The permit should be attached to your brown bin to show collection crews you have paid for the service. Information will also be on the collection vehicle’s in-cab computer.

Is there a council tax reduction for residents who do not sign up to the brown bin collection service?

No.

Can households have more than one brown bin?

Yes. Each bin at an address will be charged at £36 for the year though.

Can the charge be paid monthly?

No the annual £36 charge must be paid in full.

I only want the collection for six months – can I get a discount?

No, discounts and refunds will not be given. Payment is for the full year.

Can I share my brown bin with a neighbour?

Yes you can split the cost of one bin between two households, but one will have to be responsible for putting the bin out for collections.

What will happen to my brown bin if I do not want to pay for the service?

You can keep your brown bin in your garden or garage for other uses. Collection of unwanted brown bins is being considered but this will not be possible for the first nine months.

If your brown bin is taken away and you later decide you want to sign up for the collection service this will be possible – but you will have to pay a one-off delivery charge of £25 in addition to the £36 annual collection charge.

How do I dispose of garden waste if I don’t want to pay for the brown bin collection?

Garden waste can still be taken to household waste recycling centres including facilities at St Alban’s Road, Stafford and Beacon Road, Stone.

Alternatively you can compost at home.

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