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Future of kerbside garden waste collections to be discussed by North Northamptonshire's Executive

Bins, recycling and street cleansing

07 September 2022

Wheely bin on street

Kerbside garden waste collections across North Northamptonshire will be harmonised – subject to Executive approval - creating a consistent fortnightly service across the unitary area.

Next week, North Northamptonshire Council’s Executive will consider a report that recommends an opt-in, year-round service with an annual subscription fee per bin of £40 – which will start from Monday April 3, 2023.

The paper had originally been scheduled to be discussed at Executive in July, but, it was decided to defer a decision to allow more time to look at the options in more detail.

A direct charge for the collection of garden waste – rather than through general taxation - means only those using the service have to pay and is a fairer way forward for many.

If approved, residents will still be able to make use of the convenient kerbside collection and those who wish to continue using the service will be able to subscribe on an annual basis to make sure their garden waste is removed for 77p per week. 

Those choosing to opt out of the collection can still dispose of their waste through home composting, which is the most environmentally sustainable way to dispose of garden waste. The council will be making a limited number of the compost bins available at a subsidised price of £5 each.

Home composting is simple to do, provides gardeners with a ready supply of soil improving compost and avoids the transport impact of collection.

People can also dispose of their garden waste for free at one of the authority’s four household waste recycling centres or take advantage of the authority’s ad-hoc garden waste sack collection service.

North Northants would be joining the 80% of waste collection authorities in England and Wales currently making a charge for the collection of garden waste.

We know how valued the garden waste service is, but, however we run the service, there is a considerable cost, whether this is direct or indirect, therefore, one of the main questions is whether it is right that funding comes from general funds only, such as everyone’s council tax – which means that for the quarter of households that have no garden they are paying - or from users of the service only or a combination of both.

The recent extensive consultation that we ran showed that residents agree that we should harmonise the service and we believe that charging an appropriate, affordable rate to users only across the whole unitary area is the fairest way of running this service – creating the most cost-effective and sustainable solution, whilst supporting our medium-term financial plans.

This also gives us an opportunity to promote home composting, which is the most efficient and climate friendly option, so please take advantage of our offer here, if you can.
Cllr Graham Lawman, the Council’s Executive member for Highways, Travel and Assets

Following local government reorganisation last year, the new unitary council had inherited different approaches to the fortnightly kerbside garden waste collections from the previous local authorities.

In Corby and Kettering, the service has been provided all year at no extra charge, whilst in Wellingborough it operated between March and November with no additional cost for users of the service. In East Northamptonshire, the year-round scheme had a £55 annual subscription charge, paid by users of the service.

We believe providing a consistent service paid for by those who use it is the fairest way of providing kerbside collections for green waste.

Furthermore, there are still options for those who choose to opt-out making it the best way of providing a unified North Northants service.
Cllr Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council

The annual subscription charge for all North Northamptonshire residents who opt in to use the service is proposed to be set at £40 per year for the first bin. 

Consultation and Scrutiny

The council held a consultation on the proposal to harmonise kerbside garden waste collections and received more than 9,500 responses.

The issue also appeared before an Executive Advisory Panel on June 29 and before the Finance and Resources Scrutiny Committee on August 16.

Next steps

If Executive approves the report, work will start to ensure all arrangements will be in place ahead of the service launch – where all North Northants households will be able to sign up - anticipated to be from early January 2023.

The council would then provide more information about how the service would work and encourage residents to sign up to the scheme before collections start in April 2023.

In the meantime, more information about the proposed service from some frequently asked questions prepared for the consultation process, is available on the council’s website.

Those living in the former East Northants area

Up until now, people living in the former East Northants district area have had to pay an additional annual charge of £55 for their collections, while the remainder of the council area have not.

To acknowledge the historic disparity in charging for green waste collections the council has decided that existing subscribers due to re-subscribe from November 1, 2022, will be able to do so – for the first year of the new scheme only - for £20.

After October 31, 2023 – for all re-subscribing East Northants residents - the annual cost would then align with the rest of North Northants at the newly proposed rate of £40.

Any new subscribers in East Northants wishing to start green waste collections from November 1, 2022 onwards would pay the new charge of £40