Previously the service has been free – and senior members of Cannock Chase Council described it as a “tough decision” to start charging in 2024.
But the authority has to close a financial gap of more than £2.5m as it sets its budget for the coming years. And if 40% of households in Cannock Chase – around 18,350 homes – take up an annual subscription for annual garden waste collection it could yield a £628,000 income in 2023/24, cabinet members heard at their meeting on Thursday (September 14).
Councillor Andrea Muckley, Environment and Climate Change Portfolio Leader, said: “Since 2005 garden waste collections have been undertaken fortnightly as a part of the council’s kerbside waste collection contract. It is not a legal requirement for us to provide garden waste collection, but we have been offering this facility for over 15 years to our residents.
“Unfortunately, it is no longer sustainable for us to continue to offer this as a free service due to continuing cuts in funding from central government over recent years. Our preference would be not to introduce a charge but it is not financially viable to do so.
“With other councils across England experiencing financial difficulties, it is vital we keep a balanced budget. Therefore, in line with 67% of Staffordshire councils and 65% of councils nationally, we intend to introduce a subscription-based garden waste collection service, rather than removing the service completely.
“This was proposed in the 2023/24 budget setting process by the previous administration. Council officers have researched the local and national rates charged in garden waste collection schemes and intend to introduce the scheme at £38.50 per annum, which is well below the national average of approximately £52 per annum and is reflective of the Staffordshire average.”
In Stafford Borough the current charge for garden waste collection is £36 a year, while South Staffordshire District Council charges £43.60 for an annual permit. Concerns were raised earlier this year that Cannock Chase Council would start charging for garden waste collection too – and cabinet members agreed on Thursday to proceed with the subscription service.
Council leader Tony Johnson said: “This isn’t something we wanted to do but we do have to make tough decisions. It is unfortunate, but it’s the responsibility of being the administration.”