REVEALED: How much council made in your brown bin charges and where the money goes
PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 August 2018
A Suffolk council which switched to charging for brown bin collections in May has collected more than £1.2million since it was introduced.
Suffolk Coastal District Council announced earlier in the year that it would begin charging for garden waste collections because of financial pressures, with the scheme being rolled out in May.
Subscribers pay an annual fee of £43, which includes the option of receiving a larger 240 litre green bin.
Data revealed under Freedom of Information laws has shown that the council expected £700,000 in its budget, but the actual amount collected as of the end of May was £1,239,033 – the equivalent of around 28,800 homes.
A spokesman from the council said cash generated by the scheme was not ringfenced but was helping plug a gap in the budget.
“Both Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Council face considerable budget pressures caused by the reduction in the funding we receive from central government,” the spokesman said.
“Sadly, the reduction in funding is not mirrored in the costs we are faced with and in 2017-18 we spent a combined £8.6million delivering refuse and recycling services including garden waste collections – which themselves cost in the region of £2million.
“Councils are not allowed to charge for general waste collections but the same is not so for garden waste collection for which a charge can be made. “We have sought to maintain free garden waste collections for as long as possible but faced with the need to raise income or consider cuts to front line services garden waste charging was introduced.
“The income raised offsets general waste collection costs and contributes to the reduction of our overall budget gap.
“Therefore, while the revenue is not technically ringfenced, the effect is entirely the same – to reduce the councils’ debt and ensure we are able to continue delivering important services to those who need them most.”
Babergh, Mid Suffolk and both west Suffolk councils all charge for garden waste collection, but cash is pumped back into covering waste collection costs.
It comes amid data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last week which found the percentage of waste recycled in Suffolk was 47% last year – down from 51% four years previously.