Council recommends charge for Harrogate's green waste scheme

If the recommended charge is approved, the amended service will be rolled out to all users in 2018.If the recommended charge is approved, the amended service will be rolled out to all users in 2018.
If the recommended charge is approved, the amended service will be rolled out to all users in 2018.
Harrogate residents could face paying a charge for their green waste collection despite nearly 60 per cent of those consulted voting for another option.

A decision on whether a charge of £39 per bin per annum will be introduced for the service by Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) will be made by full council on February 10.

But despite the results of a consultation held in October - November 2015 showing only 37 per cent were prepared to pay a charge, the council are still recommending the authority introduces the fee.

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But with only 60 per cent of the town currently receiving the service free of charge, Councillor Michael Harrison (Con) highlighted that the council face increasing pressure to extend the scheme.

Coun Harrison said: "You have got to bear in mind the consultation we did was around how the collection scheme currently works and how inherently unfair the scheme is with only 60 per cent getting it now.

"The consultation did show that most people who responded recognised that things couldn't stay the same as they are and a reasonable charge to provide the service to anybody who wants it was the right way forward."

However, whilst the majority of respondents to the consultation (45 per cent) were in favour of 'doing nothing' to change the collection, Coun Harrison also pointed out that most people who completed the survey already receive the service for free.

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He said: "86 per cent of people who responded get the service now so when you look at it from that perspective the fact that so many people were prepared to pay a charge was actually quite positive. People recognise we need to do something and if we introduce a charge it's not going to harm anyone.

"Then it comes down to what is a reasonable charge. That is subjective of course but [the charge] is less than the average of our comparative neighbours so we know fit in well in that respect - it is just below average in terms of what councils change for this kind of service."

While the option to introduce a charge for the collection wasn't the most popular with those surveyed, Coun Harrison highlighted how the other options would have also been unfair.

He said: "The alternative is to stop the scheme altogether or leave it as it is which are both unfair options because people want to use this scheme.

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"I don't think it's fair to look at cutting other services to fund this scheme for other people.

"The best thing to do is compost your waste in both a cost and environmental perspective. We are offering subsidised compost bins so if you don't want to pay for the service then there is a cheap alternative."

The charge works out as just less than £2 per bin for each collection, but there are other ways of cutting the cost down even further in the scheme.

If the charge is approved the council have outlined that the amended scheme will allow for bin sharing with neighbours should residents decide one bin is ample for both their waste.

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If the collection does become chargeable it will run as it does now (free for 60 per cent) until the summer of 2017.

At the end of this year, those who already have their waste collected free-of-charge will be asked if they wish to continue before the chargeable service is rolled out to everyone who wants it in the spring of 2018.