West Berkshire Council (WBC) has been reported to its own trading standards team over its controversial green waste scheme.

Opposition councillor Alan Macro, Lib Dem spokesman for environment and waste, complained to WBC’s Trading Standards, on October 15, that the council had ‘buried’ a potential saving for residents.

The council has referred the complaint on to its monitoring officer so that the council is not investigating its own policy.

Cllr Macro said the council did not adequately inform residents that they only needed to pay £25 for garden waste collection if they subscribed between March 1 and June 30.

The West Berkshire deputy Lib Dem leader said: "The only explanation is that the council wanted as few people as possible to know about the partial year charge.

WBC introduced a £50 yearly charge for collecting garden waste from green bins on September 3.

26,000 people have signed up to the initiative so far, which came into force in September.

Each resident has paid the full so far amount, raising £1.3m.

Cllr Macro said the half-price option was only publicised in the terms and conditions and not in a letter to residents, on the garden waste charge page, or on the garden waste FAQs page.

A WBC spokesman said: “WBC is committed to openness and transparency and is responsive to feedback from residents.

"Our proposals to implement charges for garden waste collection services have been well publicised, beginning with the public consultation undertaken in the autumn of last year.

“At the press launch of the new service on July 30, it was made clear that those who joined late would be able to subscribe from March to September at the reduced cost of £25 and this was reported in the local media following the launch.

“The reduced cost was to ensure that those who joined late would not be penalised by having to pay the same cost as an annual subscription.

“This fact was also clearly highlighted in the council’s terms and conditions.

“Following a question submitted to the Executive, the council’s webpage for the garden waste collection service was updated to highlight the option for those that were joining the service late to request a six-month subscription from March.”

West Berkshire Council will be arranging collection of unwanted green bins over the next few months.

Residents who do not wish to subscribe to the garden waste service or use their green bin to recycle food waste can request a bin removal online.