Tonbridge Council chiefs give green light to garden waste charge

Pam Mills

The scheme will form part of a new refuse and recycling contract adopted by the councils of Tonbridge & Malling [TMBC] and Tunbridge Wells, which will start next March.

The joint Waste and Street Cleansing Service is described as providing ‘vastly improved kerbside collection services’.

For the first time it will include a doorstep service for glass, plastics and cartons every fortnight.

Paper and card will be picked up on the alternate week, and there will also be a weekly food waste collection.

But the levy on the garden waste collection has been a controversial innovation which is widely regarded as a ‘stealth tax’ across both boroughs.

The council insists that the charge has allowed it to improve its service in other areas and says ‘the majority of local authorities now do [this]’.

TMBC have calculated that it will save an anticipated £750,000 per annum if 40 per cent of residents decide to take up the option.

It will be offered at a discounted £35 for each of the first two years to encourage participation. In Tunbridge Wells, residents will have to pay £52 a year.

Cllr David Lettington, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Environment Services, said: “For some years, residents have been asking us to collect more materials for recycling from home and the new contract will give us the opportunity to do this.

“Charging for green waste collections – as the majority of local authorities now do –means that we can greatly expand our kerbside collections to include plastics, cartons, cans and glass, and a separate weekly food waste collection.”

He added: “We will also be able to offer other enhanced services including the kerbside collection of textiles, small electrical items and household batteries.”

The garden waste charge is subject to the agreement of Full Council on September 18.

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