Will you have to pay to get your brown bin emptied in 2022? Northamptonshire councils still aren't saying
Council tax payers in four former boroughs and districts still get garden waste collected for free .. but for how long?
Council tax payers are being kept in the dark over levelling up plans which could spell the end of free brown bin collections in parts of Northamptonshire.
Residents in Northampton, Daventry and East Northamptonshire all pay for garden waste to be taken away under arrangements with former district authorities which disappeared last May.
Homes in Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and South Northamptonshire all get the service for free — but could be forced to pay up to £55 a year if councillors decide to match the most expensive deal on offer elsewhere in the county.
Two new unitary authorities say they want to "harmonise" services and promised that reviewing the arrangement would be an "early priority" when they replaced the former county council plus seven boroughs and districts in April.
But North Northamptonshire this week said it expects a decision on any changes in time for next year’s budget, which will be decided in February.
A spokesman added that once a decision is made, it will inform residents how the service will be offered moving forward with plenty of notice.
West Northamptonshire Council did not respond to requests for clarification on its plans.
Around two-thirds of local authorities in the UK charge an average of £46 on to of council tax bills for garden waste collections, which are not a statutory service.
Northampton Borough Council sparked controversy two years ago when it announced a new £42 annual subscription — dubbed a "garden bin tax" by critics who believe it puts people off recycling.
The same service costs £35 a year in the former Daventry District Council area and £55 a year in what used to be East Northamptonshire.
North Northamptonshire executive member, Cllr Graham Lawman, said: "The council is working towards harmonising services and how they are provided, but it naturally takes time.
"Regarding garden waste, NNC is aware that there is a difference in how this service is funded and that some residents are paying directly for it.
"It is important that we address this and we are working towards doing so as part of the budget setting process for 2022-23, which has already started.
"NNC will be considering these issues and it is expected that councillors will decide in time to reflect any changes in next year’s budget."
Budget proposals are usually put before council in early February each year, around two months before the new charges would likely be introduced.