Winchester City Council publishes proposals for an improved ‘opt-in’ garden waste scheme

Winchester City Council publishes proposals for an improved ‘opt-in’ garden waste scheme

Details of an improved garden waste scheme for the district have been outlined by the city council.

If the proposals get the green light from the council’s Cabinet, the new scheme would offer householders a better service by providing a choice of wheeled bins that could allow residents to dispose of just over 2.5 times that amount of garden waste than the present bag holds.

The service would be ‘opt-in’ meaning only households who sign up to the service will pay for it. Under proposals published today, residents who opt-in, would have the choice of two bin sizes – the annual charge would be £39 for a 140L bin, or £59 for a 240L bin and households would be able to pay for more than one bin or share a bin. Garden waste would continue to be collected every two weeks and then turned into Pro Grow, the 100 per cent recycled organic material, peat free, all-purpose soil conditioner.

If approved, the new scheme would be introduced in February 2021.

Nine out the 10 neighbouring councils in Hampshire currently charge for their garden waste services. As part of its budget planning process, the council held public consultation in December 2019 asking for residents’ views on the preferred options to balance the council budget, which received over 3,000 comments. 55.1% agreed with a chargeable garden waste scheme which helps the city council to manage a predicted financial shortfall of £6m over the next 4 years and ensures only those people that take the service pay for it. The city council will be charging nearly £8 less for the £140L bin than the average price charged for garden waste collections across Hampshire and the bins will be provided free of charge.

Composters are available via the city council for £19 to help anyone who wants to dispose of their garden waste at home.

Cllr Martin Tod, Cabinet Lead for Service Transformation, said:

“The city council was already facing a difficult financial situation and COVID-19 has added to this predicted budget shortfall. By making the garden waste service self-funding, the city council will be able to continue to provide it to those that want it and help plug this gap. Despite these pressures, we believe we’ve come up with a good value plan for a better garden waste service for anyone who wants to opt in. The new bins hold much more so we won’t all have to spend so much time in queues at the recycling centre. Unlike the current bags, they stop garden waste getting soaked through in the rain, they don’t blow away, and are also much easier to manage and move about when they’re full.

“We’re one of the last councils in Hampshire to start charging and we’ve looked closely to see who’s doing the best job and how we can learn from what they do. Residents will also continue to have other options. We will keep offering composting bins for £19 and, of course, if you’re prepared to book a place and queue, it is still currently free to take your garden waste to the Household Waste Recycling Centre.”

The garden waste proposals will considered by the council’s Cabinet on 9 July. If the proposals go ahead, residents will be given more information on the new service with sign up opening in the Autumn.

The garden waste proposal paper can be found here: https://democracy.winchester.gov.uk/documents/s11728/CAB3234%20-%20Proposals%20for%20new%20garden%20waste%20service.pdf