EAST Renfrewshire residents are set to be charged £40 a year to have their garden waste collected.

The controversial move is being planned by East Renfrewshire Council in a bid to help tackle an £11million budget black hole.

Collections of brown bins are currently made once a week, free of charge but the local authority says the £40 levy is necessary to protect frontline council services from cutbacks or closure.

However, the plans have been slammed by Rena McGuire, secretary of Barrhead Community Council, who said many people who can’t afford the £40 charge would end up dumping their garden waste – adding to the problem of fly-tipping.

She told the Barrhead News: “It’s unacceptable to charge this amount for collecting brown bins. It’s a lot of money for people such as pensioners who are on low incomes.

“People in Dunterlie, where I live, just cannot afford it."

The plans will be debated by councillors at a meeting of the cabinet on November 26.
If approved, the charge would come into effect next April and would have to be paid upfront.

A council spokesman said: “It is proposed that an opt-in permit system would be introduced whereby residents who wish to have their garden waste collected will pay £40 per year, for a weekly collection, excluding Christmas.

“The permit will also include collection of Christmas trees.”
Council chiefs have said those who don’t apply for a garden refuse permit can still use their brown bin to have their food waste collected.

If the plans get the green light, East Renfrewshire will join more than a third of councils which already charge for collecting garden waste.

Councils have a statutory duty to collect household rubbish, including food waste, but that does not include garden waste.

Andy Cahill, East Renfrewshire Council’s environment director, said: “The council is facing a significant budget shortfall for the coming financial year and savings must be identified.

“We are proposing an opt-in system for a garden waste permit. The proposed charge amounts to less than £1 per week."