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All change (and charge) for garden waste collection
The new system starting on 1 April will be fortnightly - to subscribers only. Until now the service had been included weekly at no additional cost.
Residents who sign up will pay an annual charge of £40 ( discounted for pensioners or those on means-tested benefits).
The garden waste can be put in a wheelie bin or three re-usable hessian sacks, unless residents live on a red route where they will receive biodegradable sacks.
Garden waste can still be taken to the borough’s waste and recycling centres in Stirling Road, Acton and Greenford Road, Greenford for free by residents who don't want to join the scheme.
Ealing Council is also working with Straight Plc to offer residents reduced prices for compost bins starting from £15 for a 220 litre compost bin.
All other recycling services will remain the same and residents’ refuse and recycling will continue to be collected on the same day every week, except for Saturday collections which will move to weekdays.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for Transport and Environment said: “The council must find £85million of savings by 2014. Our new environmental services contract for refuse and recycling will save millions of pounds from 1 April, however this still isn’t enough and we were left with tough choices.
“We were reluctant to introduce a fee for the garden waste service but the alternative could have been moving to fortnightly collections of refuse and recycling. I would also encourage everyone who can, to choose the most environmentally friendly option and recycle at home by taking up the opportunity to purchase a reduced rate compost bin and compost their garden waste."
Both the Lib Dems and Conservative opposition have spoken out against the garden waste charging. Liberal Democrats fear it will lead to more fly-tipping in the borough.
The Conservative group leader Councillor David Millican believes there was no need to introduce the charge, as, he says Labour has underspent its budget.
''Labour has the rather large problem of the £9.4M underspent, which indicates that they have clearly cut more than was needed.
''Council’s own figures indicate the cost of providing the weekly garden service costs the Council £1M annually.
''That £9.4M sitting idle on top of the £15.3M in General Fund, £3M Contingency and £43.3M in earmarked reserves could clearly keep the service going for a number of years if Labour wished to do so.
''To make matters worse, the £40 charge is set to increase each year with inflation and subject to 2.5% additional charge if paying with a credit card.
''Labour is clearly determined to recycle as much money as it can from residents.”
Will you be signing up for the service? Discuss on the forum.
March 7th 2012