'Garden tax': Barnet residents to pay £70 for green bin collections despite Labour and public opposition
PUBLISHED: 11:33 23 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:43 23 January 2020
Barnet residents will have to pay £70 to dispose their green bin waste in a move labelled a "garden tax" by opposition councillors.
The annual fee for garden waste collection was approved by Barnet Council's environment committee on Monday (January 20) despite 82% of respondents (5,159) to its public consultaion opposing the charge, and nearly 3,000 residents signing a petition to scrap the fee.
The council says cost-saving measures of more than £70 million have brought about the policy, £15m of which will come from the environment budget, and the fee will allow the local authority to invest in other services such as cleaning the streets.
The £70 charge will start from April 6. Residents will have to pay an extra £50 per year for every additional green bin they need collecting, which the consultation says will most greatly impact the elderly and people in Oakleigh.
Barnet Labour environment spokesperson Cllr Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: "This is an unfair and environmentally unfriendly garden tax.
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"At the last local election, the Tories promised to maintain Barnet's bin collections, since then we've had a botched reorganisation leading to thousands of missed collections, the scrapping of the separate food waste collection service and now a new charge is proposed for green waste collections.
"Barnet's waste service budget may be £2 million overspent but its simply not fair to make residents pay the price."
Barnet Council council says the green bin charge is in line with neighbouring boroughs - Harrow, Camden and Haringey residents pay £75, in Enfield there is a £65 fee and in Brent a £60 charge. Three in five (59%) UK councils make residents pay for garden waste collection.
Barnet Council leader Dan Thomas said: "The decision to charge for garden waste collections is not one that has been taken lightly.
"I feel strongly that we must manage resources responsibly, and this decision not only saves money but will allow us to invest in keeping Barnet's streets clean and in a good condition."
A Barnet Council spokesperson added: "We consulted residents on the garden waste collection service, which revealed how much they value it. We want to continue to provide the service, as Barnet has a significant number of properties with gardens and charging for garden waste collections will allow this."
For minutes from the environment committee meeting and more information on the charge visit the council website.