‘It’s outrageous’ Residents rubbish hike in charges for Edinburgh garden waste collections

Residents have rubbished ‘outrageous’ hike in charges for garden waste collections, after council confirmed it’s putting up charges for the scheme this year by forty per cent.

Saturday, 24th July 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Saturday, 24th July 2021, 2:48 pm

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The council issued a notice to residents this week advising that the charges for brown bin pick-ups will increased from £25 to £35 for this year.

Council chiefs defended the hike as a move that brings charges in Edinburgh into line with other local authorities. They said the scheme which opened for registration on Thursday July 22 had already seen ‘high levels of interest.’

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Brown bin collections will be charged at £35 this year

But residents have objected to the increase in charges for garden waste collections.

Kenneth McKenzie, 78, from Joppa said: “I always sign up for this service because at my age it’s easier to put the bin out and have it taken care of. It’s an outrageous, above-inflation increase. They should have at least done it gradually instead of slapping people with this increase all at once, after the pandemic has left a lot of people stretched. You'd think the £25 would cover it.”

Mr Walter Chalmers said: “It used to be your council tax covered this kind of thing now they charge you separately for everything like big uplifts and garden refuse. Now an extra £10 a year will put people off. They are just going to dump grass and hedges everywhere. It’s disgraceful. I’ve already seen neighbours put their hedge cuttings on the grass verges and dump it there for when the council come along and cut the verges.”

Conservative MSP Susan Webber who is also councillor for Pentland Hills said: “I’m extremely disappointed to hear this significant increase is being laid at the doorsteps of residents. We have opposed the introduction of charges for the garden waste collection from the start. I’ve had a number of emails from residents concerned about the magnitude of the increase, which will be particularly hard on pensioners. They rely on this service more than most and don’t have disposable income. During the pandemic we’ve seen how valuable gardens are to people and I think many would struggle to find alternatives to the council service. But I’ve seen no evidence or any details of any kind to support an increase in these charges. And telling people with such short notice is not acceptable. There’s a lack of transparency here. It’s a grave concern.”

Councillor Karen Doran, Environment Vice-Convener, said: “Registration opened today for the service, with high levels of interest, and we'd encourage everyone with garden waste to sign up. The increase to £35 brings us into line with what other local authorities charge for garden waste collection and means that the income received covers the full costs of the collection service. We don’t and aren’t allowed to make any profit and the charge for this service allows us to protect funding for other key services that work to improve the lives of those in most need of our support.

“We recycled just over 22,000 tonnes of garden waste in 2020 through our garden waste service and we're so grateful to residents who have signed up as we’ve turned their grass cuttings, fallen leaves, hedge clippings and weeds into nutrient-rich compost, which is used on farms, gardens and green spaces.”

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