A petition against the proposed £40 garden waste charge for North Northamptonshire residents has been launched by opponents of the scheme.
The authority’s executive will vote on Thursday (July 14) over whether to introduce the fee for fortnightly collection of green waste bins in what they are calling a ‘harmonisation of services’.
More than 80 per cent of the 9,500 people that responded to an NNC consultation were against the bin tax. And when the Northants Telegraph revealed the proposal last week, hundreds of people voiced their objections on social media.
But despite this, officers have recommended that the authority give the plans the nod. The charge will cover the cost of the scheme and raise an extra £2m per year for council coffers.
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It means that everyone who uses the service will have to pay £40 annually. People living in the former boroughs of Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough previously received the service as part of their general council tax bill.
But those in East Northamptonshire will see a reduction in price as they currently pay £55 extra per year on top of their council tax. Half of the members of the ten-strong ruling executive that will vote on Thursday represent wards in the old East Northants area, including the leader and deputy leader.
Now Labour councillors have launched a petition against the charge which has already been signed by more than 1,000 people.
The petition states: "NNC have confirmed that the cost per household of delivering the service is £22. They will be making over £2 million per year from profit on this scheme by overcharging every household by £18. They have not explained why they are planning to overcharge, or what the extra revenue raised will be used for (perhaps for their recent 10 per cent pay award the Conservative councillors recently awarded themselves?)
“We believe that this scheme is regressive, does not support their own pledge to be Carbon Net Zero by 2030, will result in huge amounts of green waste flytipping, and will be hugely expensive to administer. People are rightly furious, local residents are already stating they will not sign up to the scheme as they already pay for this service in their council tax.
“This service should be universally free for all households and the policy will not work.”
Resident Caroline Hansford said: “Is there any point in me registering my objection? Council tax has already gone up and we are in a cost-of-living crisis.”
Cllr Simon Rielly, (Labour, Oakley), who is the shadow portfolio holder for highways, travel and assets, said: “Please scrap the planned £40 'Green Bin Tax’. This extra payment on top of maximum increase that you will impose in Council Tax (2.99 per cent) will lead to the most vulnerable in North Northants being affected. This along with cuts to Universal Credit, increased electricity, gas, fuel bills and the worse cost of living crisis in years.
“All this combined will create a 'perfect storm' with people suffering more financial hardship.
“The worry is, will the Conservative-led council then impose a blue/brown bin tax? Or a food bin tax?
“When will the line be drawn?”
Cllr Rielly is now proposing that the council’s scrutiny commission carries out a full review of the consultation process.
Cllr Martin Griffiths (Ind, Irchester) is also against the plan. He said: “Many of the residents that I represent are angry that the number of missed bin collections in our villages has shot up this year. They are being told to leave smelly maggot filled bins on pavements for days after the normal collection days.
"Why should they have to pay extra for a ‘rubbish’, second-rate service?“Introducing this punitive and un-budgeted tax, at a time when households are struggling with a cost of living crisis, is evil. Doing it within weeks of increasing councillor allowances is both crass and cynical.
"Perhaps things like increasing council tax, members allowances and the number of serving councillors should be part of candidates manifestos at election times so voters can know what to expect!”
You can view the petition here.