Fresh calls to bin garden tax as sign-ups fail to hit target

The new garden waste tax is proving unpopular.
The new garden waste tax is proving unpopular.
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The number of households signed up to the controversial garden waste service has “fallen massively short” of the city council’s target so far, raising questions over how much revenue the policy will tally up.

The SNP-Labour administration had set a business case target of 56,950 households registering for the “garden tax” scheme by the time the window closes tomorrow. But as of yesterday, only 43,406 households with 47,798 bins had registered for the £25 annual charge.

The council is confident the projected number of registrations will be met by tomorrow, but so far only 35 per cent of eligible households have signed up – compared to the council’s target of 46 per cent.

In March, transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, told councillors the expected income generated from the policy was based on 46 per cent of the 123,804 households currently with a brown bin choosing to opt into the new paid service.

Liberal Democrat Cllr Kevin Lang said: “This is a tax which nobody wanted and nobody voted for in last year’s election. It has already proven to be a bureaucratic nightmare with a cumbersome and confusing registration process.”

He added: “With only days left before the registration deadline, the number of households opting in is falling massively short of the target set by SNP and Labour councillors.

“It raises serious questions, not just on how much money the new tax will raise, but also on the judgement of those councillors who thought this was such a great idea.”

The new garden waste collection charge was originally intended to be rolled out over the summer, but will now not be brought in until October.

The Conservatives have called for the “shambolic” garden tax to be scrapped immediately. Conservative spokesman for transport and environment, Cllr Nick Cook, said: “It is little wonder so few people are choosing to sign up to the council’s garden tax.

“The implementation has proven shambolic, with delays, confusion and fears of fraud swarming around this misguided levy.

“Some 2000 people have already signed my petition to bin the garden tax. The council should listen to taxpayers and bury this environmentally damaging scheme without delay.”

Registration will re-open at intervals throughout the year, though households will have to pay the full £25 for the year ending October 2019. The service, which will run for 12 months from October 8, will continue to be delivered for free over the summer, until October 5.

Cllr Macinnes said: “Our latest figures show that the rate of registration is right on track. Almost 48,000 brown bins had been registered by Friday morning, exactly what we would have anticipated at this stage, with sign-ups expected to hit the 56,000 target projected in our business plan by Sunday night.

“I am pleased to see so many people signing up for the new service, with 94 per cent doing so online.”