Council to introduce new fee for replacing stolen or burned bins

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WASTE bosses who caused uproar after introducing a fee to replace wheelie bins have drawn up plans to extend the charges after the first scheme failed to make them enough money.

Labour-led Rotherham Council was roundly criticised in late 2010 after announcing that it would charge householders £22 for a replacement black bin, plus an £8 delivery fee.

At the same time, the council announced it would charge developers £57 for each new property to include a black bin, which is used for non-recyclable waste, a green bin for garden waste and a blue box and bag for recycling.

The charges were imposed in January 2011 despite widespread anger, but a number of exemptions were allowed, which will now be removed, catching more people in the process.

At present, Rotherham Council does not charge for the replacement of its green bins, and does not charge if black or green bins are stolen or set on fire, providing residents obtain a crime number from police.

But a policy to be approved by the authority next week will see all stolen and “fired” bins, either green or black, attracting a replacement and delivery charge, with an exemption only allowed if a container is “damaged by the collection vehicle”.

The replacement charge is also set to increase from £22 to £23.40 and the delivery charge will be put up from £8 to £8.36 - putting the total cost for a replacement bin at £31.76.

A report to the cabinet meeting says: “Following the introduction of the scheme in January 2011, the issue of wheeled bins has been closely monitored.

“However, the expected savings of £121,000 envisaged from the charging policy have not been realised, with an expected shortfall of £70,000 forecast.

“The extension of the charging policy to further categories of wheeled bins would generate income for the council and assist in maintaining waste services.

“The income from the scheme is anticipated to generate £14,470.80 for this financial year.”

Householders will still be able to escape the delivery charge of they are prepared to collect their own bin from the authority’s Hellaby depot, but the site is only open for limited hours on weekdays.

When the first scheme was introduced it was attacked by the opposing Tory group on the council and by the TaxPayers Alliance pressure group.

Yesterday, Conservative group leader John Gilding said the new policy “beggared belief” and predicted council taxpayers would be disgusted at the new charge.

He said: “For many people the bin service is their only real contact with the council and now they face paying on top of their tax if their bin is stolen or burned.

“All a lot of people get for their money is their rubbish shifted and the roads repaired and in Rotherham they are not even getting that right.”

According to council figures, it has provided 4,395 wheeled bins in total in the financial year 2011/2012, including replacements for those which had been stolen or set alight.

The authority said it would not be introducing a charge for the replacement of its blue recycling boxes or the bags it issues for the same purpose.

It is expected that the charges will be approved, but officers will warn leading councillors that there are a series of risks involved with the extension of charging.

Their report says: “There may be an increase in anti-social behaviour if residents decide not to purchase a bin and fly-tip waste.

“Charging for green bins may reduce the amount of green waste diverted from landfill.

Other councils across the country also charge for wheelie bins, including Cambridge, Sefton, Wirral, Waveney, Woking and Harrow Councils.

Barnsley Council charges a £15 delivery fee if a resident requires a new bin after it is stolen or burned, but also offers the option of free customer collection.

martin.slack@ypn.co.uk