RESOLVED: That Cabinet
a) Agreed that a charge was made for kerbside garden waste collection for all residents of West Northamptonshire who opt into this service of £42 per bin per year, from 1 April 2022;
b) Approved the decision to run the customer service and administration of the garden waste collection service in-house for all residents of West Northamptonshire, thus removing its administration from West Northamptonshire Norse, in the Daventry area.
c) Approved the establishment of a subsidised home composting scheme, to be launched at the same time as the charge 2022/23, to offer residents an alternative.
a) The introduction of a charge for the collection of garden waste would bring the south of West Northamptonshire into harmony with the rest of the council area. The scheme would be run council-wide with the level of charge, terms and conditions and service standards the same across west Northamptonshire.
b) Charging for the collection of garden waste would ensure that only those who wish to use the service pay for it and in that way, supports the Polluter Pays Principle. Therefore, those who home compost, or who don’t have gardens or who take their garden waste to the Household Waste Recycling Centre would not pay for the collection service.
c) The Council would be permitted to levy a ‘reasonable’ charge for the garden waste service (under the Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012). The proposed charge would generate income essential to part fund the waste collection services provided to the residents of West
Northamptonshire. This includes approximately £800,000 in additional net income to the council in 2022/23 for the south area, where the charge would be newly introduced. It would also maintain the approximate £2.2 million of annual income from the areas of the council where there was an existing charge.
d) The £42 charge recommended for 2022/23 would be the same as was charged in the Daventry and Northampton areas in 2021/22 and so would represent no increase for those residents and is identified as average across the region.
e) The proposal to bring the customer service and administration of the garden waste collection service would enable the Council to have a direct interface with residents who wish to opt-in to this service, ensuring they receive the best possible customer service.
f) The subsidised home composting scheme would provide an alternative option for residents who do not want to pay the collection fee. It also promotes home composting, which in waste management terms is a preferred option.
a) In reviewing the council’s garden waste service, several alternative options were considered for harmonising it across the whole of West Northamptonshire. Appendix A of the report showed a table of the
considered options, along with the positive and negative considerations of each option and the financial impact of each.
b) Officers had considered whether it would be appropriate and possible to offer discounts, for example in the following circumstances:
· A resident pays by direct debit; or
· A household has more than one bin (multi-bin discount); or
· If a household would like to pay for more than one year in advance; or
· For residents in receipt of certain benefits.
The council would seek to establish a single auto payment system across West Northants which might enable future opportunities for any discounts to be administered as well as providing evidence of where any discounts were needed or justified based on usage.
Therefore, it was agreed to introduce the scheme using existing payment systems in April 2022.
At the Chair’s invitation Councillor Phil Larratt presented the report, copies of which had been previously circulated. The committee was advised it was a responsibility and a requirement to harmonise services under West Northants Council and this report had provided a review of the charges. Currently garden waste was collected on a fortnightly basis with Northampton and Daventry residents paying a yearly fee, whereas no fee was charged in South Northamptonshire. Approval of the proposal would ensure a fair system for all residents with the understanding that there are many people who live in flats and as such garden waste collections would not be required. Residents would be encouraged to compost, bins would be provided for this, it was agreed that it was important to keep residents informed of this.
Councillors made the following comments.
· It was felt that the proposed fees were not required, that the residents already paid for this service through their council tax payments.
· It was asked if there would be a reduction in the council tax to offset this extra payment.
· It was queried whether this charge would cover the cost of opening the household waste and recycling centres 7 days a week.
· It was felt that this was an unreliable income stream as not all residents would sign up for the scheme.
· A full consultation on this issue across the whole area should take place.
· It was noted that a cost neutral option had not been mentioned in the report.
· The report had not mentioned Christmas Tree collection, would this still take place?
· WNC was now 8 months old, it was queried why this had not been implemented earlier on.
· It was queried whether there would be an increase in residents placing their garden waste in their black bins.
· It was noted that some residents may not be able to pay the fee in one go, could there be an option added to pay weekly or to add it to the council tax.
· The DEFRA report that is expected should arrive before Christmas, would it be prudent to introduce a charge now that might be overturned in a few months’ time.
· The report did not mention any investigation that had happened with regards to residents not being able to pay.
· It was advised that the options mentioned in Appendix A didn’t seem to add up.
Councillor Phil Larratt made the following points.
· There had been complaints made to the ombudsman regarding this issue.
· 63% of Councils now charge for Garden Waste collection with the national average £43.
· As far as he was aware Christmas Tree collection would remain in place.
· There had been no significant increase in the amount of garden waste placed in black bins.
· To begin with there was a budget provision in place for 3000 compost bins.
· This fee was to ensure that every resident would be paying the same amount, this making the process fair.
· It was advised that it was not a statutory responsibility of the council to provide garden waste collection, as such there is a charge to process the waste.
· The dates given by DEFRA had consistently changed, if the amount charged should change DEFRA would compensate the council accordingly.
· There were some possible discounts, the council would keep them under review.
Councillor David Smith noted that there would always be concerns but many residents are prepared to pay for the service.
The Chair noted that it was not helpful to re-draw boundaries, the council was now West Northants Council.