Residents in Queensferry, Kirkliston and Dalmeny, who want to continue to have their garden waste collected, will have to pay a new ‘garden tax’
And the charge will start in July – amidst widespread claims that the new measure was hushed up by Edinburgh City Council who are content to use the surprise charge as a cashcow.
The plan to impose a £25 annual fee was first aired by the ruling SNP/Labour administration in January – and was met with opposition. However, the council has now announced that the fee will be implemented regardless.
Properties, which do not pay the tax, will have their brown bins removed.
And the moves are afoot to start the charge as soon as possible – as a registration process will soon be underway.
Liberal Democrat councillor Kevin Lang opposed and voted against the new tax and his casebook is crammed with complaints from aggrieved constituents.
The Liberal Democrat said: “We had council elections exactly a year ago and this policy was not in any party’s manifesto. However, 12 months on, residents now face a new charge for a service which should be paid for from basic council tax. Council officials have told me they expect less than half of households to pay for the service. It raises real concerns over fly tipping or people disposing of recyclable garden waste in their landfill bins.”
Irate constituent Morag Goulden from South Scotstoun, said: “It is a disgrace and people should refuse to pay. Folk will hand back their bins and we’ll get more dumping around different areas making the countryside like a tip.”
David Hutcheson of environmental group Cleanferry, said: “It will be interesting to note how much additional administration will be required to operate the new scheme. It seems to me a bit counter productive and how are the busy waste management contractors going to judge who has paid or not paid?”
However, Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “This was agreed by council as part of this year’s budget-setting process. This will generate significant savings, allowing the council to invest in priority services such as care for the elderly and education, while enabling us to continue to collect garden waste.
“More than 40 per cent of local authorities across the UK already charge for garden waste collections, which is a non-statutory service, and isn’t available to all households in Edinburgh given how many people live in flats and tenements here.”