Sign-up window to close for 'administrative nightmare' garden waste service amid website issues

ENVIRONMENT bosses have been told to bin the garden waste service amid websites and phone lines grinding to a halt – hours before the next registration window closes.

Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 6:51 pm
The sign up for the garden waste service closes on Wednesday

Residents have until 2pm on Wednesday to sign up for the £25 annual charge from the period beginning in October – despite councillors voting to scrap the paid-for service “in principle”.

Councillors agreed for an investigation into the re-introduction of free garden waste collections to be part of draft budget proposals for 2020/21. Even if the free service is agreed in February for the next financial year, it wouldn’t come into force until October 2020 at the earliest.

Council bosses are pressing ahead with the second year of the service. But on Monday, issues with residents accessing their accounts meant they were unable to sign up online while phones were reportedly inundated with people trying to sign up.

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“Yesterday was by far our busiest day, with 4,100-plus registrations. The vast majority have registered online, with the remainder signing up over the phone or in person at the High Street or Wester Hailes local offices. If you haven’t yet signed up, please don’t miss out – gardens all over Edinburgh are blooming just now after the mix of sunshine and showers we’ve had of late, so all the more reason to make sure you keep getting your brown bin collected when the new service year starts in October.

“We’re aware of a technical issue with the mygovscot myaccount platform which has affected a very small proportion of people. We’d encourage anyone encountering this issue to email [email protected] before the 2pm August 7 deadline with their name, full address, email and phone number so that we can help register them.“

He said: “It is time for SNP and Labour councillors to swallow their pride and get rid of the garden tax.

“The coalition administration had no mandate to introduce the tax, which has been deeply unpopular ever since it was introduced. To make matters worse, it has been an administrative nightmare and has simply ended up reducing recycling rates. It’s a policy devoid of any benefit. It needs to go.”

Conservative transport and environment spokesperson, Cllr Nick Cook, added: “This latest garden tax debacle again highlights the SNP and Labour’s inability to deliver basic services.

“They should recognise the democratic will of the transport committee and rule out continuing the garden tax beyond this financial year.”

Braid Bowling Club had its three brown bins emptied by the council throughout the first year of the garden waste collection scheme – but is unable to renew it.

Club spokesman Eric Melvin said: “Alternative collection arrangements are likely to be highly expensive and will have serious financial implications for clubs.”

Liberal Democrat ward Cllr Neil Ross added: “For a council that has committed to increasing recycling and encouraging participation in sports and leisure activities, this decision makes no sense at all.”