New garden waste charge could be scrapped under government plans

More lorries and more collectors as Council loses patience with Urbaser
Changes are to be made to improve rubbish collections in Tonbridge

A new Waste Services Contract is due to start in Tunbridge Wells at the end of this month, which includes an opt-in charge of £52 a year for residents who want to have their garden waste collected.

The charge, which will initially be discounted for individuals who sign up before August 2 is set to begin in September along with other new features, such as kerbside plastic collection, after the new refuse company, Urbaser, completes logistical changes.

The money generated form the new waste contract, £700,000, has been included as part of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s £2.3million budget changes to fund the £90million Calverley Square development.

But on February 18 the government announced plans for a series of consultations ‘to overhaul the waste system’.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove mooted that garden waste could be collected free of charge, with councils reimbursed for the revenue shortfall.

However, whatever money is handed over to TWBC from central government, it may not cover the full cost tendered out to Urbaser, whose contract is set to last for eight years, and could leave the council with a budget shortfall.

TWBC say they are aware of the consultations.

Councillor Dr Ronen Basu, the cabinet member in charge of sustainability, said: “We will be responding to the consultations and keep under review any changes in guidance or legislation that may be forthcoming as the strategy is finalised.

“In the meantime we will continue with the planned introduction of our new recycling and waste contract.”

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