Town’s disapproval at prospect of brown bin charges in district

Woodbridge Town Council has expressed its concern at the possibility of brown bin fees

Woodbridge Town Council has expressed its concern at the possibility of brown bin fees

Town leaders have hit out at the prospect of householders being charged to recycle garden waste through the brown bin scheme.

Woodbridge Town Council objected in the strongest terms to fees being introduced following a county-level decision to slash waste credits for districts and boroughs, and instead encourage them to charge for collections.

Suffolk Coastal is yet to decide whether or not to maintain a free service – but the town council said it would be “appalled” if residents were forced to pay.

Ipswich Borough has already pledged to keep free brown bin collections, while Waveney has decided to charge for its green bin organic waste collection service after a report showed the annual cost to all taxpayers could increase from just under £800,000 to £1.7 million. Mid Suffolk and Babergh councils already charge £50 a year for the service, but there is currently no charge for residents of Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury districts.

Kay Yule, who represents Riverside ward on Woodbridge Town Council, asked: “Why are we having to come in line with Babergh and Mid Suffolk?

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She added that it would be “foolhardy” for the proposals to be adopted.

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Fellow Riverside ward councillor, Martin Sylvester suggested that a letter be written, stating that Woodbridge Town Council would be “appalled” by the changes proposed.

Patti Mulcahy, who represents Farlingaye ward and is also a district councillor, seconded Mr Sylvester’s proposition.

She said: “I think it is of great concern to our town and would like to encourage the district council to keep it as it is.”

Before a decision was made, the county council said members of the Suffolk Waste Partnership, which handles collection and disposal, had discussed potential options for the future of the service and accepted that proposals could reduce overall costs of waste collection and treatment in Suffolk. It said that introducing a charge would also encourage home composting.

Carol Poulter, the district’s green environment chief, said: “Suffolk Coastal constantly reviews how we provide services to local people, to ensure we are conducting our business in a professional manner and the council tax payers are getting best value for money.

“Although the joint Suffolk Waste Management Partnership has agreed to explore ways to reduce the amount of organic waste which the local authorities collect, it is up to each sovereign council to decide if they will support this initiative.

“The decision by Suffolk County Council to significantly reduce the recycling performance payments available to us will obviously put pressure on councils like ours, who have kept council tax frozen at the same level for five years and have worked hard to reduce our running costs in the face of a 30% drop in government funding.

“However, at this stage, Suffolk Coastal has not fully examined this issue in detail and no decision has been made. While we welcome any information or comments which will contribute to this debate, it would be inappropriate to speculate on what decision might be made by this council.”

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