Brown bin charges on the cards for households across east Suffolk
Households across east Suffolk are facing another bill to add to their stretched finances – with charges set to be imposed for garden and food waste collections.
Suffolk Coastal looks set to charge £43 a year for emptying brown bins because it is faced with mounting costs for running the service.
It will be a blow for families who this year saw council tax charges rise and face pressures from inflation, growing heating bills and few wages rises.
Council officers admit the changes could mean a 9% drop in recycling, but say the refuse service faces a £200,000 hole in its budget unless it brings in charges.
Two years ago after Suffolk County Council reduced its financial support for the collection of organic waste, all the district and borough councils in Suffolk decided to levy annual charges – except Ipswich and Suffolk Coastal, which decided the service should be free.
Suffolk Coastal is now reviewing its position and officers are recommending a charge of £43 per bin per year.
Households not wanting to pay could compost more or take garden material to a household waste site. Waste food could be put in the general rubbish bin.
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The council would prefer to still collect both garden and food waste, but cabinet will be asked on Tuesday to grant permission for officers to also negotiate a contract for garden waste only to see which deal would be best.
Suffolk Coastal is the largest council in the county and the £43 fee is roughly in line with the others – Mid Suffolk and Babergh charge £55, Waveney £42, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury £40.
Carol Poulter, cabinet member for the green environment, said the council had a £30m investment plan, including a major revamp of leisure facilities, but was faced with year-on-year reductions in support from central Government.
She said: “Faced with dwindling financial support, the council has recognised the need to become increasing self-sufficient, if we are to continue to be proactive in investing in and supporting our communities.
“While the council had wished to avoid introducing charges for collecting organic waste, faced with the harsh financial realities of the current situation and the on-going commitments to planned projects, it is recommended that this charge is introduced during the next financial year.”