Posted by: westlancashirerecord | April 12, 2017

Council Officers Claim Garden Waste Collection Has Been Free!

Is it any wonder we council tax payers are so angry about upcoming charges for WLBC to take away our garden waste? Some jobsworths in local councils actually state in public that up until now emptying our green bins has been a free service! So why was it previously included in rates and council tax?

It all started so well with a submission to Parliament. In November 1997 all 15 local authorities in Lancashire came together to form the Lancashire Municipal Waste Management Strategy Steering Group. The Strategy was published in its final form as “A Greener Strategy for a Greener Future” in April 2001. The drivers for the Councils in preparing the Strategy were the then poor recycling performance, over-reliance on landfilling, a limited supply of landfill capacity and the impact of landfill tax on waste management budgets. In 2000-01, 806,733 tonnes of municipal waste was produced in Lancashire and this rose to 816,093 tonnes in 2001-02. Traditionally, there has been a high level of dependency on landfilling of waste in the County due to the legacy of excavated quarries resulting from the long history of mineral extraction. At the time of the preparation of the Strategy over 85% of municipal waste was landfilled.

The submission ended by stating “This evidence has sought to show Lancashire’s approach to the waste problem and why it may be put forward as an example of best practice which could with advantage be followed by other Waste Authorities. If early progress is to be taken as a sign for the longer term, it does seem as if a combination of waste minimisation, reuse, recycling, composting and minimal landfill could between them solve the problem of dealing with the County’s waste arising during the next 20 years without recourse to large-scale Energy-from-Waste developments”.

A St Helens Council officer, the strategic director of environmental and trading services, said “It is recommended that a policy prohibiting the placing of garden waste into the brown residual bin should be introduced alongside any charge for separate garden waste collections. The council predicts that only 25 per cent of households will agree to pay for the green bin collection service and they are concerned that the other 75 per cent of households will simply place garden waste inside their free brown bins to avoid paying the £35 annual fee. And he added “The main risk in respect of charging for garden waste collections is public reaction as residents won’t want to pay for a service that has previously been delivered free.  The impact of this behaviour could see an increase in fly tipped waste and or garden waste being included within the black bin”.

The report does not elaborate on how this measure would be enforced but other local authorities that have introduced the green-bin charge, such as Warrington Council, are reported to have employed enforcement officers that are tasked with routinely checking people’s bins for garden waste. Households that do not agree to the new service fee will be easily identifiable to authorities because of the absence of a licence sticker that is issued to fee-payers and attached to their green bins. The enforcement of the prohibition on green-waste in brown bins may take the form of spot checks without the knowledge or permission of the householder and fines may be issued against those who flout the new rules. Other local authorities have attached brightly coloured tags to ‘polluted’ bins to publicly shame householders before taking further action with repeat offenders.

The only shame in this sordid policy is that our council tax is used to employ officers who believe services provided from that tax are free!


  1. My understanding is that it is perfectly legal to put garden waste in our grey bins. Are Warrington simply trying it on?

  2. Thanks for that.

    They say: “The council reserves the right to audit black, blue and green wheeled bins at any time to ensure proper use. Garden waste should not be placed in black or blue bins. Any black or blue bins that are found to contain garden waste will not be emptied.”

    Trouble for the council is that they have a legal duty to collect general waste – this is just bluster. No doubt West Lancs will come up with similar verbosity in an attempt to regiment residents.

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