York’s Liberal Democrat councillors have called on the new Labour administration to ditch their plans to start charging residents for garden waste collections. The shock plans came to light in a report to be considered by the council Executive on 14th September, which sets out a number of cost-saving and income-generating measures to help tackle a projected £11m black hole in the Labour council’s finances.
The report describes garden waste collection as a service that is “not essential” and recommends that the council explores the potential to introduce a green waste charging. It suggests that a charge of £43.50 per household per year for a fortnightly collection would generate income of between £720k and £1.5m per annum depending on the level of take up of the service. It assumes that between 45% and 75% of households will give up their green bin rather than pay the fee.
Labour’s local election manifesto, on the basis of which they were elected to run the city, made no mention of introducing charges for garden waste collection.
When Labour were last in power in York (2011 to 2015) they tried to introduce charging for all garden waste collections, but following a successful campaign led by the Liberal Democrats and Labour’s defeat in the 2015 Council elections, this decision was reversed within the July 2015 emergency budget.
Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson, Cllr Paula Widdowson, has called on Labour to scrap their Green Bin Tax plans: “At a time when many households are struggling to make ends meet, it beggars belief that Labour is planning this new tax bombshell. This is in effect a ‘stealth tax’ imposed by Labour which begs the question, if it’s a green bin tax this week, what next? It is even more shocking given the fact that in their local election manifesto just a few months ago, they said nothing about introducing a Green Bin Tax.
“Labour planned to charge for green bin collections when they were last in power in York, so I suppose it comes as no surprise that they are trying again. Many residents who voted Labour will feel badly let down – not only are they failing to deliver on many of their promises such as free school means for all primary children, but they are now introducing policies that weren’t even in the manifesto!
“The Green Bin Tax plan is also concerning from an environmental perspective. Composting is an option for some households but not all, which raises the prospect of green waste going into black bins, or being burnt, or being flytipped, all of which we would want to avoid. It will also mean more car journeys to household waste sites, making road congestion even worse. It is simply incomprehensible that an administration which claims to take the climate crisis seriously would take such action.
“It’s not too late for Labour to take a step back and think through the implications of this proposal. The Lib Dems have launched a petition so that residents opposed to the Green Bin Tax can make their voices heard.”
Sign the petition to ditch the Green Bin Tax here: https://digitallibdems.typeform.com/greenbintax