Consultation on proposal to charge for household garden waste collections

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This consultation is now closed. We would like to thank the 6,517 residents who took part in this consultation.

Background

We know that keeping Barnet's environment clean and well maintained is one of the best ways we can support residents to enjoy a good quality of life, and that the many services we deliver are valued by local people. Environmental services such as recycling and street cleansing are mostly provided to all residents, meaning that they serve the whole population.

As with all other council services, environmental services must contribute savings or increase income to ensure that the council is able to set a balanced budget and continue to invest in improvements to our services. Over the next five years the council needs to save over £70 million. Environmental services will need to contribute £15.1 million towards this savings target.

Charging for the garden waste collections is one of our proposals that will help us meet this requirement. It has the potential to deliver savings in excess of £700,000 a year and will enable the council to continue to deliver weekly waste collections, and continue to invest in improvements to our services.

The free collection of garden waste is not a service the council has to provide by law. The garden waste service is not used by all residents and is an opt-in service used by 58% of street-level properties. Introducing a charge to residents who wish to continue to benefit from the service will provide a fairer balance to residents that live in properties that don’t require garden waste collections. Many UK local authorities have already introduced a charge for this service.

If we do not make savings by introducing this proposal then savings will need to be found from other environmental services, other council services or increasing council tax or from reserves in the short term.

We know that people value the garden waste collection service and we are asking residents to give us their views on the introduction of a charge for this service. Even if you don't currently use the service we would still like your views,


How does the current garden waste collection service operate?

We currently provide a fortnightly collection of garden waste as part of an opt-in service. We do not currently make a direct charge to users for the costs of providing this service. The costs of providing the service include the collection vehicles, collection crews, fuel, vehicle maintenance, and transport and treatment costs for the garden waste that is collected.


What is the new service and charging proposal?

We have considered a number of savings options and are proposing to introduce charging for the collection of household garden waste through our green garden waste bins.

We are proposing that the service will operate on the same basis as the current green garden waste collection service, with fortnightly collections of 240 litre green garden waste bins. However, those residents who choose to opt in to continue to receive the service will be charged an annual subscription fee for up to 23 collections. Payment will be made online via the council website and those who sign up will be issued with a coloured sticker to identify the bin as being opted into the service. Black refuse bins containing garden waste will not be collected.

Give us your views

Please take the time to give us your views on this proposal by completing our online questionnaire. Even if you don't use the service we still want your views.

If you require:

  • a paper copy of the questionnaire you can pick one up in your local Barnet library and return it in the reply paid envelope that will be provided with the questionnaire.
  • another format of the questionnaire please email michael.lai@barnet.gov.uk or telephone 020 8359 4600.

The findings from the consultation will contribute to the final recommendations that are put forward to Environment Committee.

This consultation is now closed. We would like to thank the 6,517 residents who took part in this consultation.

Background

We know that keeping Barnet's environment clean and well maintained is one of the best ways we can support residents to enjoy a good quality of life, and that the many services we deliver are valued by local people. Environmental services such as recycling and street cleansing are mostly provided to all residents, meaning that they serve the whole population.

As with all other council services, environmental services must contribute savings or increase income to ensure that the council is able to set a balanced budget and continue to invest in improvements to our services. Over the next five years the council needs to save over £70 million. Environmental services will need to contribute £15.1 million towards this savings target.

Charging for the garden waste collections is one of our proposals that will help us meet this requirement. It has the potential to deliver savings in excess of £700,000 a year and will enable the council to continue to deliver weekly waste collections, and continue to invest in improvements to our services.

The free collection of garden waste is not a service the council has to provide by law. The garden waste service is not used by all residents and is an opt-in service used by 58% of street-level properties. Introducing a charge to residents who wish to continue to benefit from the service will provide a fairer balance to residents that live in properties that don’t require garden waste collections. Many UK local authorities have already introduced a charge for this service.

If we do not make savings by introducing this proposal then savings will need to be found from other environmental services, other council services or increasing council tax or from reserves in the short term.

We know that people value the garden waste collection service and we are asking residents to give us their views on the introduction of a charge for this service. Even if you don't currently use the service we would still like your views,


How does the current garden waste collection service operate?

We currently provide a fortnightly collection of garden waste as part of an opt-in service. We do not currently make a direct charge to users for the costs of providing this service. The costs of providing the service include the collection vehicles, collection crews, fuel, vehicle maintenance, and transport and treatment costs for the garden waste that is collected.


What is the new service and charging proposal?

We have considered a number of savings options and are proposing to introduce charging for the collection of household garden waste through our green garden waste bins.

We are proposing that the service will operate on the same basis as the current green garden waste collection service, with fortnightly collections of 240 litre green garden waste bins. However, those residents who choose to opt in to continue to receive the service will be charged an annual subscription fee for up to 23 collections. Payment will be made online via the council website and those who sign up will be issued with a coloured sticker to identify the bin as being opted into the service. Black refuse bins containing garden waste will not be collected.

Give us your views

Please take the time to give us your views on this proposal by completing our online questionnaire. Even if you don't use the service we still want your views.

If you require:

  • a paper copy of the questionnaire you can pick one up in your local Barnet library and return it in the reply paid envelope that will be provided with the questionnaire.
  • another format of the questionnaire please email michael.lai@barnet.gov.uk or telephone 020 8359 4600.

The findings from the consultation will contribute to the final recommendations that are put forward to Environment Committee.

  • We asked, you said, we did

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    We asked

    We asked residents to give us their views on the introduction of a charge for the garden waste collection service. We asked for views on:

    • respondents’ level of use of the current service
    • the principle of introducing charges to those that wish to continue to use this service
    • the level of any charge to be introduced
    • whether or not respondents would use the service if a charge was introduced, and what alternative arrangement they might make if not
    • whether respondents would be able to sign up to a chargeable service online.

    You said

    A total of 6,517 responses were received. Just over three quarters of respondents disagreed that introducing a charge for only those who use the service was fair. Four fifths of respondents opposed the introduction of an annual subscription. Of those that responded, almost a third of respondents (28.5%) said they would prefer to see an increase in Council Tax rather than a charge introduced.

    37.4% of respondents who said they currently use the service would continue to use it if a charge was introduced, and this is a relatively positive level of response compared with the take up rates seen in other London boroughs.

    The majority of respondents who said they would consider using a chargeable service would be able to sign up online.

    We did

    The Environment Committee agreed the introduction of charges at its meeting on 20 January 2020. The council launched the chargeable service from 9 May 2020, allowing residents to sign up online and by phone from mid-February, with a charge of £70 for the first bin, and £50 for each additional bin to be collected.

    The first year of the garden waste service saw 40,028 stickers paid for. 38,477 households signed up during the first year of the service giving a take up rate of 56%.

    The income generated through the introduction of charges has supported other council services, including an investment of £600,000 into the street cleansing service, which the council recognises is a high priority for residents.

    You can read more about the Environment Committee meeting and the full consultation results here.