At last night's Policy Committee, Reading Labour Group forced through the introduction of an annual fee of £50 for green waste wheelie bin collections, effective from 1st April 2017. (Residents will still have to pay the initial fee for a green wheelie bin, currently £36.10)
Labour showed themselves up for the hypocrites they are by failing to consult residents. Surely it would have been prudent to gauge public reaction by putting forward a choice of proposals to test the water? This would have enabled a much better informed fee level to be set, which in turn would have helped to take residents with the council, encouraged people to continue recycling green waste and thereby minimised the dropout rate.
Reading's Labour administration ignored the experience of another borough council which back in 2011 introduced a similarly large annual fee, resulting in a dramatic initial 60% reduction in users which picked up a bit but still saw a 36.67% reduction. Labour also ignored following Bracknell Forest's successful example of bringing in a £25 fee which resulted in no reduction in users.
Why did Reading Labour not broaden the scope of their report to Policy Committee to include the consequential costs to all of Reading's residents of an increase in green waste being dumped, either in landfill (grey) wheelie bins or fly tipped around Reading? These considerations were ignored yet could far outweigh the new income from Labour's annual charge from landfill tax and officer time clearing up future fly tipping.
My Conservative colleagues on Policy Committee voted against the £50 charge, but Labour's large majority rammed it through regardless.
Here is a link to the report.