View across East Kent: Garden Waste Collections

March 06, 2012 11:45 AM

In Shepway the garden waste collection service is comparatively new – and they have always charged extra for it.  In Canterbury it is free, and they have just decided to keep it so – though there is a charge for people requiring extra sacks for large amounts.

Dover, however, is a different matter.  The service - introduced quite recently - currently extends to only 72% of the district, and the council wants to make that 100% . It has been free since inception, and last time the council reorganised we were told that those receiving the service would continue to do so. You'd think that could be taken as a commitment.

Now they have announced that from April the service will cease. We will now have to register and pay £40 a year for a licence. The licence tag must be visible on a bag at each collection. No tag, no collection. Does this represent a breach of that commitment?

There are echoes here of a previous electoral promise: to maintain weekly collections – generally taken to mean general rubbish – which has translated into weekly collections of food waste only. The reason given that this is to enable the extension of garden waste collection to all is spurious – the service can either be provided or not.  Are we about to see more “two-tier” services in future?

I personally have written in protest against this, and copied in the local press.  At the time of writing, I hadn't received a response beyond an acknowledgement,  but one local newspaper has published it as a letter to editor.  A Deal edition of the same paper, the East Kent Mercury made it a front page story.

An alternative exists (which I shall use, as I did in days gone by) to bag and transport my own garden waste to the Kent County Council run refuse centre to dispose of for free.  I suspect many others will too, which means they risk running the scheme at a loss.  Of course, that will not help those without their own transport who will be “trapped” into the new regime. My letter in last week’s paper sparked more protests, particularly from transport-less older people.

All three councils are on fortnightly collections, except for food waste, which is weekly, and to add insult to injury, Dover is planning to increase council tax – my subject for next time.

 In Shepway the garden waste collection service is comparatively new – and they have always charged extra for it.  In Canterbury it is free, and they have just decided to keep it so – though there is a charge for people requiring extra sacks for large amounts.

Dover, however, is a different matter.  The service - introduced quite recently - currently extends to only 72% of the district, and the council wants to make that 100% . It has been free since inception, and last time the council reorganised we were told that those receiving the service would continue to do so. You'd think that could be taken as a commitment.

Now they have announced that from April the service will cease. We will now have to register and pay £40 a year for a licence. The licence tag must be visible on a bag at each collection. No tag, no collection. Does this represent a breach of that commitment?

There are echoes here of a previous electoral promise: to maintain weekly collections – generally taken to mean general rubbish – which has translated into weekly collections of food waste only. The reason given that this is to enable the extension of garden waste collection to all is spurious – the service can either be provided or not.  Are we about to see more “two-tier” services in future?

I personally have written in protest against this, and copied in the local press.  At the time of writing, I hadn't received a response beyond an acknowledgement,  but one local newspaper has published it as a letter to editor.  A Deal edition of the same paper, the East Kent Mercury made it a front page story.

An alternative exists (which I shall use, as I did in days gone by) to bag and transport my own garden waste to the Kent County Council run refuse centre to dispose of for free.  I suspect many others will too, which means they risk running the scheme at a loss.  Of course, that will not help those without their own transport who will be “trapped” into the new regime. My letter in last week’s paper sparked more protests, particularly from transport-less older people.

All three councils are on fortnightly collections, except for food waste, which is weekly, and to add insult to injury, Dover is planning to increase council tax – my subject for next time.

 

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