Thursday November 14th 2019
Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson
Midlothian Council has approved plans to continue the chargeable kerbside garden waste collections.
At the full council meeting on Tuesday, it was confirmed the scheme had generated a net income for the council of £591,178 in 2019.
Councillors agreed the service should be offered to residents again in 2020, with the charge remaining static at £35 per bin.
The kerbside garden waste collection service operated last year and had 18,516 garden waste bin collection requests, with 99.7% of all collections being completed on time as expected.
SNP Councillors had asked for consideration to be made of a concessionary rate which could boost income into the scheme, as well as asking for written assurances that those taking part in community gardening would be supported.
Acting Director for resources Kevin Anderson said that there was no budget or time for the required IT changes for a concessionary rate. He also said that community gardeners are already supported with the council collecting from the roadside any garden waste the groups had collated.
Labour Councillor, John Hackett, as the elected member responsible for Garden Waste, said:
“I want to assure other councillors that all the questions that have been raised are the very questions that I have been asking throughout this process and will continue to do so.
“In an ideal world we would have the Customer Service system in place with multiple ways of being able to pay for this service and other council services but the council as a whole is not geared up for that yet.”
When it came to agreeing the report all the Labour councillors voted for the paper unamended, all the SNP Councillors present voted against the paper having been refused a deferral and one Conservative Councillor abstained.
Councillor Kelly Parry said:
“I am very disappointed that Labour Councillors in Midlothian did not feel that they could take on board the comments and suggestions of our communities.”
“There was no evidence that hard working folk in our communities doing communal gardening work would be supported, and no pause to consider a different financial model.”
Councillor Colin Cassidy said:
“The utter arrogance to push ahead anyway, despite significant complaints from residents, and significant environmental concerns is an act of environmental vandalism.”
“SNP Councillors put forward a compromise to ensure peoples feedback was included, but this was rejected.”
Residents can sign up and pay for next year’s service from early January 2020. As part of the council’s ‘Digital by Design’ vision, payments for the service will once again be online via the council’s online payment portal.
For those who do not have access to the internet, assistance and advice will again be available at all council library buildings through the provision of an ‘Assisted Online’ service. The council also aims to recruit members of the voluntary sector and staff within local community hubs to assist residents to sign up online.
In 2019, around 2000 residents visited their local library to receive assistance with paying online.
Residents who opt-in to the service will receive fortnightly collections of their garden waste from mid-March to mid-November. Householders are encouraged to sign up early in the payment window, open from early January – 20 February, so as not to miss their first collection.
Residents who do not want to pay for the service can recycle their garden waste for free at Midlothian’s two household waste centres at Penicuik and Stobhill.
To watch the full discussion of the Garden Waste report then CLICK HERE and go to section 8.8.
To read the full Garden Waste Report then CLICK HERE.Tweet Share on Facebook