Mansfield District Council mulls brown bin fee

HOUSEHOLDS could face having to pay £20 to £28 each a year to carry on having their garden waste collected by Mansfield District Council.

The authority has launched a consultation on the charges for emptying the district’s brown bins following increased pressure on its finances.

Around 42,148 homes out of 48,648 in the area currently get the service for free, but officers say if it is to be rolled out to everyone a fee will need to be introduced.

If the change is brought in, those who don’t want to pay the new fee will be able to opt out of the garden waste collections altogether to avoid it.

But some residents have already criticised the idea, with one calling it a ‘council tax rise in all but name’.

The authority is running a consultation with the 1,000-strong Mansfield Citizens’ Panel to gauge public opinion.

Martyn Thurman, head of neighbourhood services at the council said: “It’s no secret that money is tight for many businesses and organisations across the country and we’re no exception.

“Mansfield District Council has to continue to make substantial savings to balance its budget for the years ahead.

“We know this is a valued service and we are keen to sustain it. We also want to give those households who have not been able to access the service the chance to do so.”

He added the council cannot stick with the current situation, with more than 6,000 people not getting the collections, because it is obliged to provide services to all tax payers.

But shrinking budgets amid Government cuts mean it is struggling to afford the £160,000 cost of expanding it to everyone.

Added councillor Phil Shields, portfolio holder for the environment: “It’s something we’ve been looking at for a while and I’m concerned about the fact we’ve got 6,000-odd people not receiving the service. I think it should have been an opt-in service from day one.

“I’ve had some feedback already which has been on the negative side but this is about balancing the books and we’ve got to think about the people who don’t receive it.”

Mansfield District Council is now the only district or borough council in the county offering free garden waste collection.

A report detailing the proposal and how the scheme may work will be considered by Mansfield Mayor Tony Egginton in early November. If approved charges would be brought in from April next year.

Said Giulio De Lucis, of Paddock Close, in a letter to Chad on the issue: “If we have to pay for our brown bins on top of the council tax we already pay, which includes this service, then we have a resultant council tax rise in all but name.

“The problem lies though with those that will refuse to pay for the bins and instead put their garden waste in their normal bins.”