Published: 06:00, 02 July 2020
| Updated: 09:22, 02 July 2020
Almost 18,000 residents have agreed to pay to have their garden bins emptied as a council prepares to end its free collection service.
From Monday, a controversial charge will be introduced by Canterbury City Council - forcing those who want their garden trimmings taken away to fork out £45 each year.
The new charge is the most expensive per collection in Kent - at £2.13 per fortnight - as the service only runs for 10 months of the year.
When announcing its fee to a wave of criticism earlier this year, the council candidly admitted the move was “all about the money”.
Currently, 58,695 residents own a green bin and benefit from having its contents emptied by Serco crews free of charge.
Two-thirds have yet to sign up to the new collection service, but the uptake is, however, higher than expected - an outcome which has pleased council bosses.
Authority spokesman Leo Whitlock said: “By Monday 17,669 households had signed up and paid for 19,201 garden waste bins to be emptied when the free service ends next week and we want to say a big thank you to them for doing so.
“This represents about 33% of the 58,695 bins we were emptying as part of the universal service and is much higher than we expected.
“While we recognise this move has angered some people, Canterbury is the last district council in Kent to introduce charges for a service that is over and above what we are required to provide by law.
“The money raised will help to pay for the invaluable frontline services everyone has relied upon during this pandemic at a time when our other income streams have been hit extremely hard, leaving us with a £12 million financial black hole to fill.”
Those paying for the garden waste collection have been allocated stickers to place onto their green bins. Those without stickers will not be emptied.
Lord Mayor Cllr Terry Westgate has warned those thinking of stealing neighbours’ stickers will be liable to prosecution for fraud.
Opponents to the new charge fear it will lead to a significant increase in fly-tipping and bonfires as people refuse to pay for collections.
More by this authorJoe Wright
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