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Fears as Canterbury City Council refuses to rule out charge for picking up garden waste

Green-fingered residents in a Kent district pay more for their garden waste bin than anywhere else in the UK - and could soon have to stump up to get them emptied.

New figures reveal the £51.95 cost of a green-lidded receptacle in Canterbury is the highest in Britain.

Mike Sole is worried the local authority will start charging to collect garden waste
Mike Sole is worried the local authority will start charging to collect garden waste

But the city council is still refusing to rule out introducing fees to empty them, with other authorities in Kent charging up to £52 a year.

Worried Nailbourne councillor Mike Sole says such a move would unfairly impact rural households and punish them for having gardens.

“There are more gardens in the villages and any additional charge will disproportionally hit those living in the countryside,” he said.

“We’re approaching the time when the council will be looking at its budget and this would be an easy source of income for it to take.”

Eleven Kent councils bill their residents for garden-waste collections. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has the highest fee of £52.

Cartoon by Royston
Cartoon by Royston

It is followed by Thanet, which charges £51, and Sevenoaks and Folkestone and Hythe, where residents have to pay £47 for the service.

Cllr Sole fears a collection fee in Canterbury would trigger a surge in bonfires and lead to an increase in the number of people using black bins to dispose of their green waste.

“It’s a massive council tax through the back door affecting those in rural areas more than those in the towns,” Cllr Sole continued.

“Some people will think, ‘if you’re creating more garden waste, you’ve got to pay more’.

"But there are services in the towns and city that those in the rural areas don’t get. We shouldn’t be penalised.”

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The city council is one of two local authorities in Kent yet to have introduced a charge.

When asked to rule out such a move, city council spokesman Leo Whitlock said: “We are one of the few councils in Kent which does not charge to collect garden waste and we have to look at our options every year. No decision has been taken.

“With increasing demands on essential frontline services to pay for, we understand why other councils have decided to charge for collecting garden waste after taking the view it is wrong for every council taxpayer to subsidise a service used by a limited number of people who could dispose of that waste in other ways.”

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