This report is due to be pre-scrutinised at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee scheduled to take place on 26th October 2023. Any recommendations arising from that meeting will be recorded in a supplementary pack for the Executive Committee’s consideration.
The acting Executive Director of Environment, Leisure and Community Services presented a report proposing the introduction of a Garden Waste Collection Service for the Council.
Members were advised that there had been a garden waste collection service in the Borough for a number of years but this had been delivered by Bromsgrove District Council on behalf of Redditch Borough Council. Originally, it had been intended that this would be a short-term temporary arrangement and the plan had been to introduce an inhouse Garden Waste Collection service at some point. However, there had been a delay in making a decision on this subject due to the uncertainty surrounding the implications of the Environment Act for local authorities and the associated financial implications, particularly as it had been suggested that Councils might need to provide a garden waste collection service free of charge. More recently, the Government had confirmed that local authorities would be permitted to continue to charge for local garden waste collection services and the Council had concluded that it would be timely to consider introducing this service in Redditch.
The garden waste collection service proposed for Redditch Borough Council would operate for 40 weeks in the year. By providing this service inhouse, it was anticipated that the Council would be able to increase the number of residents in the Borough who could register to receive the service. By contrast, under existing arrangements, there was a threshold beyond which the Council could not increase customer numbers and there were residents who had had to be turned down when requesting the service.
The Council was proposing to charge residents who opted for the service an annual fee of £60 and there would also continue to be a one off £20 set up charge. When the service started to be delivered directly by the Council, the authority would initially lose £40,000 income received through current arrangements. However, Officers calculated that the authority would need to attract approximately 600 customers, in addition to the existing number of customers, in order to break even. There would be capacity to increase the service to provide for up to 6,000 customers, which would result in an increase in income.
There were significant financial costs attached to procuring a new vehicle for the Garden Waste Collection service and this could also take time to arrange. Therefore, initially, it was anticipated that the Council would hire an extra vehicle until a new vehicle could be purchased, although it was likely that the hire vehicle would be used for other waste and recycling services so that a Council owned vehicle could be used for Garden Waste Collections and the green credentials of the service would then be advertised on that vehicle.
The Executive Committee was advised that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had pre-scrutinised the report at a meeting held on 26th October 2023. During this meeting, questions had been raised about the potential for the Council to provide this service to residents on low incomes. Whilst this ... view the full minutes text for item 41