Annual fee confirmed for garden waste collection

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Cheshire East Council has announced details of a subscription service which means residents will have to pay annual fee if they would like their garden bins to continue being collected.

The subscription service for green waste collections is planned to go live in January next year and By opting-in to the service, residents can continue using their garden bin to recycle their green waste and will pay a proposed annual subscription fee of £56 for it to be collected.

The scheme – details of which will be considered by the council's environment and communities committee later this month – follows approval of the council's medium-term financial strategy for 2023/24 to 2026/27, which was consulted on in January this year.

Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council's environment and communities committee, said: "The council continues to face significant financial pressures and there is an overall £20m funding gap to fill. We therefore have no choice but to look to alternative sources of revenue generation.

"The collection of garden waste is not a core service that councils are required to provide – and the costs associated with it have risen considerably – but it is our wish that we continue to make this service available to residents, while also ensuring we can make required savings of around £4m.

"We can do this by introducing an annual subscription service – something which more than 65% of local authorities across England have already done including our neighbours in Cheshire West and Chester, with many of these schemes having been in place for several years.

"We do of course recognise the pressures on people's household finances, which is why residents will only pay for the service if they opt-in to the scheme and it remains free for residents to dispose of their garden waste at our household waste recycling centres.

"We also continue to encourage residents to consider trying home composting – it is an excellent and environmentally-friendly way to limit food waste and has huge benefits to people's gardens."

The annual scheme is expected to open to subscriptions in October and go live in January.

Residents who opt-in will have their garden bins emptied as per their usual schedule and will be sent a specialist sticker to attach to their bin, which will feature a unique reference and is designed to fray and tear when removed to prevent them being reused by others.

A report on the green waste subscription, where councillors will be asked to decide on the implementation details of the scheme, will be discussed at the council's environment and communities committee on 27 July.

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Simon Rodrigues
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 6:03 pm
So to recycle waste meaning its turned into compost then sold for profit on top of council tax rise you then want to charge us for another firm to make money from the waste. Forgive me I understand its only £50 a year but you can be sure that fee will go up year upon year.
Audrey Youngman
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 6:38 pm
Do disabled people get their garden waste collected as they cannot take it to the tip?
Bill Bennett
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 6:49 pm
I suspect the administration of this scheme will cost more than the Council take in. subscriptions. Many households simply cannot afford to pay more, on top of all of the additional costs we have now, which will result in fly tipping and it will cost even more to remove it. Whoever thought up this disastrous idea, needs to think again.
Bernard Mitchell
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 6:54 pm
As far as I am aware the green bin waste collected is used by Cheshire east in part
to manufacture bio fuel and used in the councils adapted trucks .
Whilst the waste collection is a stand alone company it is owned by the council so they are paying them selves t make a profit ?
If I am right then we are paying for our green bins to be emptied and providing a contribution to the fuel cost as well ,so those who continue to have our green bins emptied are subsidising the collection service twice ,just another example of the back door stunts played on residents by there so call elected representatives ,
Did you vote for this kind of behaviour ? I don’t think these kind if issues were mention before the last elections ,but I may be wrong .
Nigel Davies
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 7:16 pm
This is unbelievable. Where are we supposed to find £58?? So we're getting penalised for having a garden. So effectively it's a garden tax.
So where is the food waste going to go?
There's going to be an awful lot of fly tipping next year
Nick Jones
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 7:21 pm
Black Bin Bags in Black Bins..... This is otherwise myopic greed
Laurie Atterbury
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 7:57 pm
The way councils have to raise funds is a joke. Why should the tax of a couple living in a £1 million house be the same as a family of 6 , say, also living in a £1 million house; ludicrous.
Laurie Atterbury
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 8:00 pm
If I don't pay can I insist the council takes away the green wheelie; if not can I charge them a fee for looking after it for them on my property?
Barry Buxton
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 8:01 pm
Seems very sensible under the circumstances. How do the naysayers explain that over 65% of England's councils have done this already without causing civil war.
Laurie Atterbury
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 8:09 pm
If I don't need the green wheelie anymore, does it just go into the black bin?
Christine McClory
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 8:13 pm
So does that mean that people will now put useable, compostable waste into their black bins. Surely a retrograde step.
Paul Millett
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 8:15 pm
This will just lead to more fly tipping. If you don't go ahead with the fee what do you do with your green bin ? Dump it somewhere as I am sure the council won't want to collect them for recycling - unless you pay a fee of course!
Hilary Pinnock
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 8:22 pm
Folk will just dump/hide their green waste in their black bins....stupid scheme destined not to work.
Christopher Walker
Wednesday 19th July 2023 at 9:38 pm
So I’ve never been arrested or stopped by the police …. Do I get that local tax back… seen as we are to be taxed on items we use like a garden bin?
David Nelson
Thursday 20th July 2023 at 8:06 am
Fuel miles to the tip. Air pollution as a result. That assumes you have a car too. I can see black bins fuller with green waste hiding in black liners. I don't get it!
Jonathan Follows
Thursday 20th July 2023 at 10:35 am
How does this affect the "15-year deal" reported here (https://www.wilmslow.co.uk/news/article/17741/food-recycling-to-be-introduced-next-summer) with Biowise in July 2018 for the composing plant to process food and garden waste?
Presumably it continues but with less input waste for people who aren't willing to pay £56 a year for its collection - I don't think I am. I suspect that many others won't either. For me, it's mainly about food waste and that'll simply revert to the black bin.
I also think I remember that the green bin collection and processing didn't cost us anything when the food waste collection was introduced, although I could be incorrect here.
Oh yes, and trying to justify this because it's what other councils do is reprehensible, either justify it properly or don't.
However I recognise that the council is limited by central government in raising more money through more general local taxation. It's also sad that this forces us away from a laudable recycling initiative.
Alan Brough
Thursday 20th July 2023 at 4:33 pm
@ David Nelson,

I understand that the Council will be supplying their refuse teams with hand-held x-ray scanners to scan the black bins - any compostable matter will be immediately obvious and will result in a fixed penalty notice.

Only joking.
David Smith
Friday 21st July 2023 at 9:47 am
Well, as usual a few poorly thought out comments by the usual contributors that don’t add up to much.
In the end it shows how so many people just do not want to be responsible for doing something themselves to save money for THEIR council and be involved in green ideas to help the planet. Do something to keep the council tax down? Don't be daft!

So many people have gardens that are environmentally unfriendly. Concrete all over the front on which to park their cars with rainwater contributing to flooding by going down the sewers instead of soaking into the ground and at the back at best some worn out grass with hardly a plant/bush/flower in sight. Get interested in gardening and have a composting facility to save you money buying fertilisers and peat from garden centres. Peat should have been banned years ago by our Tory government. Make an environment attractive for wildlife, which includes bees [you like honey don't you?]. Stop using slug pellets that harm birds and don't spray chemicals that harm the insects. Insects are FOOD for wildlife. Encourage toads and frogs that will eat slugs overnight. Accept wasps that also feed on pests such as greenfly. This is all part of GOING GREEN and YOU need to get involved. Ask your children for advice and help. They are probably more environmentally knowledgeable than you are.

I suppose the most affected will be the likes of those living in flats and who have no garden so can't have a composting bin.

If many of us don't want the £56 service what happens to our green bins? I guess eventually the council will have to take them back at a cost and then have a green bin mountain somewhere or pay to have them disposed in an environmentally 'green' way - again at a cost. Perhaps spray them black or grey as replacements when required for the other two bins. So in the short/medium term the money saved will be offset by the cost of making the change over. If fewer residents wish to stay with the collection scheme I guess the cost will eventually rise above £56.
To say 'Where are we going to find £56’ [= £1 per week] is rather dramatic.

To say there will be a lot of fly tipping is also rather irresponsible. Why can't grown ups behave properly and live within the law? Ask your children if this is a responsible attitude to have for the future of the environment.

I suppose more biodegradable waste will go into the black bin and then into landfill, which does cause long-term issues with greenhouse gasses forming underground. This gas needs to be vented otherwise there is an explosion/fire hazard. This is why landfills need to have vents dotted around the surface. I think there are some at the old Newgate landfill site, now turned into the Newgate Nature Reserve.

It’s a law of nature that every autumn leaves fall off the trees and get blown around, ending up in piles all over the place. If from your garden you need to compost these as well and make nature’s own soil improver.
If you pay to have a gardener make sure they collect them all up and take them away or place them somewhere in your garden to compost down into a perfect soil improver and NOT - as I have often seen - to be blown into the road! Whilst composting they will provide a winter home for the likes of hedgehogs/toads and be a breeding ground for worms and insects - perfect food for birds.

There is one area where our council needs to get a grip. Leaves need to be removed on a regular basis before they get wet and sodden. In this state they are a slippery hazard to pedestrians and cyclists, which sort of goes against the hope we will all walk and cycle more. How often do you see as late as January/February some poor person with a brush and shovel trying to clear a pavement of partially decomposed, wet leaves when it would be much easier and quicker to collect them up with blowers at an earlier time when they are still dry. Over time our council has not bought the right equipment for doing this sort of work.
Leaves need to be removed overnight when there are no parked cars where leaves collect in the gutters underneath vehicles. Or cones put down to prevent parking so they can be removed during the daytime.
Ever wondered why our roads flood because the grids are blocked?
How about putting two and two together and realising that the grids/drains become blocked because leaves and twigs are allowed to lie in the gutters for far too long and eventually go down the drains.

Comments/excuses/reasons by any of our new RoW councillors will be welcome.
It would be a change to have a councillor other than Mark Goldsmith make a statement and join the discussion. At least you do get involved on Wilmslow.co.uk Mark but it would be good to hear from one of the other 5 RoW councillors. To say you all are active on other social media is not a reason as many of us wish stay away from all those time wasting sites. One is enough!
Christopher Evans
Friday 21st July 2023 at 10:38 am
Will this mean that residents that subscribe to this scheme will get a weekly collection of garden waste during Spring, Summer & Autumn followed by a once a month collection in November, December, January and February?

Hopefully, this policy will not erupt into garden waste bin disputes pitting neighbour against neighbour arguing about whose garden waste has filled my bin.

I see an increase in home security garden waste video cameras. There is always an up side for somebody.

Somebody in the correspondence makes a good point about this fee being an unwelcome drain on the disability allowance income for residents in receipt of it. CEC must help or mitigate this charge for residents whose only income is from the benefits system.
John Harries
Friday 21st July 2023 at 11:23 am
FYI
I've had to find this but it's official ANSA advice
"Food waste:
Please put food waste in your garden waste bin. If you do not have a garden waste bin you can continue to put food waste in your black bin."
Wasn't there originally a green bin recycling dividend for the rates payers whereby the composted by-product was redistributed to residents - where did that 'green' benefit go and what's happened to the compost meantime?
Nigel Davies
Friday 21st July 2023 at 12:37 pm
Maybe CEC can issue us all with free Black Compost Bins.
It's hedge trimmings that's problem as the wont compost down.
And can someone tell me how disabled people are supposed to take there green bin waste to the local recycling center. The nearest being Poynton/ Macclesfield/Mobberley/Bollington/Wythenshawe. They're not exactly on our doorsteps
Tom Simcock
Friday 21st July 2023 at 1:22 pm
With the cost of living crisis, you want to add yet another bill, People just can't afford
another bill, you are pushing people over the edge,
With this new TAX, All you are doing is encouraging fly-tipping,
And are you expecting pensioners to pay this money?
Can you not do away with the green bins and put the garden waste in the black bins
If it's going to a landfill it will rot away.
Graham Jackson
Friday 21st July 2023 at 3:30 pm
@David Smith To say 'Where are we going to find £56’ [= £1 per week] is rather dramatic.
Well good for you. This was a service that was supposed to be self funding. Now we are paying for a supposed positive self funding service.
David Smith
Saturday 22nd July 2023 at 10:01 am
22Jul23 1055hrs:
Graham Jackson:
Times change and it's about time everyone living in the UK begins to realise that life on this island [as well as in the rest of the world] must change too.
The changes are coming about after Brexit, Covid, climate change, Ukraine/Russia with the subsequent impact on energy plus a long-standing uselessness of our political system in the UK that is largely mismanaged by far too many persons who think they know what they are doing. In the defence of any of them I would add that the magnitude and complexity of the decisions and work required to make the UK a FAIR and EQUAL society in which to live is almost too much to persuade everyone to live a different lifestyle and accept an outcome that works for us all.
That is our politics at National level that seeps down to our every day life at local government level.
One of the 'nitty gritty' details of all this is Cheshire East has an INCOME that is less than EXPENDITURE.
So when the former is less than the latter changes have to be made and I would say that only paying £1 per week to have green waste taken away from your front door is a good deal. Comments such as 'disability' are valid but surely this is where good neighbourliness and help from family comes in. Even sharing a green bin and halving the cost to 50p per week.
For our LOCAL finances to be greatly eased there needs to be more Council Tax bands at much higher rates for the very expensive properties sprinkled all around us here in our neck of the woods.
Those then paying a bit more should view this as money well spent if it goes towards making life safer for everyone - and might even reduce the theft of expensive cars that are regularly reported in Wilmslow.co.uk.
One fact of financial life is that if something has to be paid for you can't get money from those who don't have any - with the proviso that 'not having any' isn't the same as 'living beyond your means' or being financially wasteful.

Please discuss!

Oh and Graham, what's this @David Smith?
Is that addressed to me at some social media site?
Am I correct in thinking it is Instagram?
Why should you believe that I have anything to do with ANY social media and seek to converse with me there?
It really is sad that the world is becoming buried down the ‘blinkered’ social media rabbit hole and expects everyone else to be down there too.
Donald Trump started all this with his version of politics via Twitter so why take after the likes of him?

Message to RoW:
Wilmslow.co.uk is a reasonable website through which to communicate with residents but steer clear of the rest of social media. Otherwise, now that you are in total control of the town, meet residents with a stall at the artisan market and have a better https://residentsofwilmslow.com/ website. It doesn't say much and is really quite naff [inappropriate for your aims and residents needs might be a more polite description?] Have EACH councillor regularly state what is being done and is planned and invite direct communication/feedback.
Laurie Atterbury
Monday 24th July 2023 at 8:00 am
David Smith, I get all what you said. The way our councils are funded these days is the problem I think. Why should the cost of services I receive depend upon the value of my house? Councils should be funded by everybody in the community that is able to pay, and that includes wage earners living with their parents.
Graham Jackson
Monday 24th July 2023 at 2:39 pm
David Smith: In general terms I agree with your statement, but expanding Council tax bands isn't on the agenda as it’s outside the control of the local authorities.

The green bin system was supposed to be a self funding and in fact a profit centre. Cheshire East developed this as a one stop green and food recycling system (have they been caught by rising fuel prices?) They introduced the green bin system in the first place as a benefit to residents, this was particularly appealing to Wilmslow/Handforth residents as they lost the recycling centre. I would imagine that the Wilmslow/Handforth conurbation is the least served area in the county as measured in household density.

Essentially, we’ve have arrived at a garden tax. You may agree that this fair and equitable.

Why aren’t we equalising car parking fees? Car parks in some of the most affluent areas of the county are free.

Finally, this website is normally full of local councillors giving their opinion, it’s their defacto mouthpiece normally. Their silence on this topic is notable.
Mark Goldsmith
Monday 24th July 2023 at 2:53 pm
Hi All

My RoW colleague Cllr David Jeffery posted this on the wilmslow.co.uk Facebook account, so I will repeat it here too in case some of you want a different opinion to mine.


Folks,

I wasn't going to comment on this matter until the the decision as to whether the charge is implemented or not is made on the 27th July (the heading for the article is not quite correct in that the fee has not yet been confirmed, nor has it been confirmed that the charge will go ahead). This is just the recommendation to the Cheshire East Environment and Communities committee which will be considering the matter on the 27th). However, the proposal has upset so many people that I thought it may be helpful to make a few comments now and, frankly, I would be surprised if the committee has any other choice other than to vote it through on the 27th anyway.

To explain, councils have a legal requirement to set a balanced budget (i.e. income = expenditure) and that is what the council does every year and did last year.

Since then, due to factors outside of the council's control (which we are all aware of...a former prime minister's policy decisions, Ukraine, etc), outgoings have gone up massively for example inflation has gone through the roof (especially construction costs which affect all the council's building projects), pay rise demands for the council's 3,500 employees have been much greater than predicted (central government negotiates these) and we have seen high energy price increases (to which the council is vulnerable as we all are) to name a few.

So, keeping things simple (because I don't have the figures to hand) an inflation increase of 10% if the council has outgoings of £250m means that the council has to find an extra £25m to deliver the same services as last year (and that is ignoring the ever increasing demands on things like adult social care). The council does have some reserves of about £12m but that is clearly not enough to ride this storm and we don't know how long the storm will last. The council cannot legally increase council tax anymore than it has done, so they have to cut services and/or start finding new income streams to balance the books.

Many cost saving measures were identified but considering the green bins specifically, they were selected for a number of reasons; 1) Unlike the black and recycling bins, they are not a compulsory service that councils have to provide, 2) there is an alternative for most people in that the garden waste can be taken to the household waste sites free of charge or they can compost if they don't want to pay for the green bin, 3) not everyone uses the green bin service, and 4) 75% of councils already charge for it (and until relatively recently there was a charge in parts of Cheshire East). The proposal is expected to raise approximately £4m (net) towards the budget shortfall.

Nobody wants to implement this charge (not least us councillors who will undoubtedly pay for it at the next elections) and we know there may be some adverse effects like fly tipping (although experience in other councils who have started charging does not indicate a real problem on that) but without this, £4m will need to be found elsewhere. It is certainly better (in my opinion) than the alternatives which range from cuts to other more vital services to the very real prospect of the council not being able to function and therefore being put into administration by the government.

There are savings and efficiencies that can be made at the council, we all know that and your councillors have been improving the council over the past 4+ years as part of the administration, but these things take time like changing the direction of a ship. The current financial situation and the general cost of living crisis was not reasonably foreseeable even 18 months ago, so we find ourselves in a position where we need to find savings which can be realised now, not 2, 3, 4 years in the future.

Unfortunately that means difficult decisions.

I understand the messenger is about to be shot but hope that explains a little.

Cllr Dave Jefferay
Wilmslow East



In addition to this, to correct Dave's initial figures, Cheshire East's income in 2022 was £320m. Inflation added another £35m to costs for existing services but the 5% increase in council tax only raised £15m. That left a shortfall of £20m to run the exact same services.

Cheshire West & Cheshire has charged for green bins for 18 months and has not reported any increase in fly tipping.

Cheshire East is not taking back any green bins in case anyone changes their mind and wants to sign up. Typically, councils have experienced a 70% uptake in year one that rises to 80% in year 2 onwards.

This is not a tax. No one has to pay it. You can still take your green waste to a council tip free of charge or compost it at home.

Those on benefits are likely to get a discounted rate for this service.


Best regards

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Wilmslow West & Chorley
Graham Jackson
Monday 24th July 2023 at 3:36 pm
Any chance then Councillors that you can look at a recycling centre that serves both Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and Handforth. Combined we are significantly bigger than Knutsford or Congleton yet they have a service.
Alan Brough
Tuesday 25th July 2023 at 12:56 pm
Graham Jackson raises a good point. Residents in Handforth, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge are required to drive a significant distance to use a Recycling Centre and there is a considerable cost attached to that - both financial and environmental.

For sure the £1 per week (pitched as the starting point) wont cover the cost of driving to Knutsford to join the queue to dispose of your hedge trimmings / grass cuttings etc.

Bring back Newgate Tip!
Elaine Croft
Tuesday 25th July 2023 at 3:13 pm
I think the council have lost the plot I as everyone else has said it can only encourage fly tipping to increase. If we all opt out as previously stated the black bin will be used for food and garden waste. We also agree , how does that fit into the ethos of recycling and our supposed environmental greener future. We are disgusted with our newly ejected members. There must be other more positive ways to sort out this problem. Perhaps emails should be sent to the council from us all.
E& D Croft.
Christine McClory
Tuesday 25th July 2023 at 3:35 pm
So does that mean that people will now put useable, compostable waste into their black bins. Surely a retrograde step.
Lynne Prescott
Wednesday 26th July 2023 at 10:32 pm
Graham Jackson. It’s not only that residents of Handforth etc have to drive 29 mins each way because we don’t have the replacement recycling centre that we were promised but no one mentions any more. It’s also the reduced opening times - Knutsford is on.y open until 4..30 so you can’t even go there after work. If we have to work with reduced hours they could at least be resident friendly - maybe closed Mon-We’d but extended hours for the other days?
John Featherstone
Thursday 27th July 2023 at 1:33 pm
FLIPIN ECK BREXIT, THE CHINA VIRUS, CLIMATE CHANGE, RUSSIA, UKRANE, never heard anything like it all for a GREEN BIN ??????? get real sort a better deal say half the cost £ 25 a year john
John Harries
Thursday 3rd August 2023 at 10:27 pm
Extract from Cllr. Jefferay's response elsewhere
"Cheshire East is not taking back any green bins in case anyone changes their mind and wants to sign up"! How considerate...
I wonder has this carefully though over decision taken into account a response whereby a vast majority of ratepayers decide they don't wish to pay for the green bin service and also do not wish to retain their green bin (after all who wants/needs one if it's contents are not removed every 14 days) - the bins are actually Council property (mine originally belonged to Macclesfield Borough Council (it says so on the 'tin') - what contingency has CEC made for the scenario of collection/storage and disposal of hundreds of thousands of unwanted green plastic wheeled containers - after all they have a legal duty of care to safely dispose of or store these items.
Plenty of good arguments have already been put forward here as to the extra financial/ environmental burden this places on the ratepayers for what was 'originally' sold to those same ratepayers as [I recall] a 'self funding' service (with benefits - FOC safe recycled compost!!). It seems to me there may still be a 'green' recycling CEC resource/sub-contractor infrastructure operating with a reduced (but now subscriber) user base - same number of collection miles and vehicles, perhaps reduced collection operative overhead but same materials handling overhead so to my simple mind, on the face of things not a huge saving (and my guess is that will have to be subsidised - by CEC). The initial subscription is circa £2.20/subscriber over 40 weeks=20 collections (to start with ie for 2024 and maybe thro. to April 2025) and then, you've guessed it, "sorry, we are going to have to increase the charge because blah blah blah".
What other avenues have been explored to save on the overall budget shortfall......maybe losing +£1/4M for a replacement CEO is a small % but it would help