Garden waste charge in West Norfolk among highest in county, analysis shows
Gardeners in West Norfolk pay the second highest fee in the county for the collection of their waste, according to figures obtained by the BBC.
West Norfolk Council currently charges £55.30 per year for the fortnightly kerbside collections of garden waste, compared to £69 in Great Yarmouth – which is the highest amount charged by a local authority in Norfolk – and £46, the lowest amount, charged by Breckland Council.
It comes after analysis into garden waste charges by Lynn News reporter Rebekah Chilvers whilst seconded to the BBC’s Shared Data Unit.
It was found that while some 100 local authorities provide a regular collection service for free, more than 200 charge between £22 and £96 annually. The average charge for the service in the UK is £31.
Council officials argue that the service costs money to provide.
But Anthony O’Sullivan, managing director of Gardeners Club, said: “UK gardeners are increasingly being punished with a quiet green-garden tax which seems to go against every other positive environmental initiative that the UK is trying to promote.”
Brian Long, leader of West Norfolk Council, said although it seems some local authorities provide the service for free, in reality, taxpayers foot the bill.
Mr Long said there are more than 27,000 garden waste customers in the borough, and the service costs money, which includes paying for trucks, staff, and processing the waste.
“How can councils provide this for ‘free’ – they make all taxpayers pay through their tax, even the ones without gardens, crazy and unfair,” he added.
The collection of garden waste is not currently a statutory service, and the Government says that charging for collections is “at the discretion of local authorities”.
But this year, the Government has been consulting on whether households in England should receive free garden waste collections – it says it believes providing a regular kerbside collection service is the “best way” to increase recycling of garden waste.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said if free garden waste collections do became mandatory then “the Government will have to pay the full new burden’s cost”.
David Renard, environment spokesman for the LGA, said: “Ultimately, garden waste collection has to be paid for by someone.
“It’s only fair that those households which have gardens and generate the waste pay for the service.”
More by this authorRebekah Chilvers