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Forest of Dean council garden waste scheme

ALMOST 3,000 extra households need to sign up for new paid-for garden waste collections or Forest of Dean District Council will make a loss on the service.

But councillors are optimistic they will hit their 10,000-household target despite concerns about the controversial new scheme.

From April, residents will have to pay £26 a year if they still want their green bin picked up from the kerbside. Previously, it was covered in the council tax bill.

To break even on the service, the council needs 10,000 homes to sign up to the optional scheme. So far, 7,212 households have taken up the offer.

Councillor Martin Quaile, cabinet member for the environment at the council, said: “We anticipate we will reach our target of 10,000.

“We don’t have a contingency plan as such but I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.

“The 10,000 number was a ball-park figure and, at the end of the day, it’s going to be less than that to break even.”

Critics have said the new charge will push some people towards fly-tipping or burning their garden waste instead.

“I think it’s inevitable we will get a bit more fly-tipping and people burning off their rubbish but we have the tools at our disposal to deal with that,” said Mr Quaile.

“What I think you will also find is that, come August, a lot of people will say ‘well for the sake of £26 it’s not worth the hassle’ and they will buy a licence then.”

He added: “I’m very happy with it, it’s a good scheme and we’ve already got 7,212 houses agreeing.”

The new scheme was discussed at Cinderford Town Council’s monthly meeting on Tuesday night.

Councillors there were sceptical about whether the 10,000 figure would be met but also about what would happen if that number was vastly exceeded.

Councillor Bernie O’Neill, also a Labour district councillor, said: “They’ve still got a few to go to get to the point where they are breaking even and justifying the new round.

“But what happens if they get to 12,000 or 13,000 and the lorries are at bursting point? They would have to look at putting another round on, investing more, and how much would that cost?”

The district council has been holding information roadshows where people can go along and find out more about the new service.

Today, officers will be at Tesco in Lydney between 10am and 2.30pm.

On Sunday, they will be at Taurus Crafts between 11am and 3.30pm and more roadshow dates can be found on our website.

Call 01594 810000, go to the council’s Coleford offices or log on to www.fdean.gov.uk to find out more.

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