RESIDENTS in West Berkshire who want their garden waste collecting will next year pay the council £200,000.

The total income is according to West Berkshire Council’s plans on how much it will cut services and charge higher fees next year, as the budget comes under increasing pressure.

The fees are despite the government’s recent resource and waste strategy, which states that garden for waste should be collected for free to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill.

Residents must pay the council an annual fee of £50 for the first green garden bin to be collected, and £67 for each additional bin. The charges were brought in September 2018 and is a subscription, opt-in service.

The council said: “Fees and charges can have a direct impact on usage and take up. Raising fees and charges can in some instances work against the council’s social inclusion agenda by effectively discriminating against those who are less able to pay.”

Some residents who don’t want to pay £50 could put their garden waste in with general waste, meaning it gets sent to landfill, increasing greenhouse gas emissions compared to how separated garden waste is processed. No concessions are available for pensioners or those on benefits.

Hillary Cole, deputy leader of the council and in charge of waste, said: “Why should those without gardens subsidise those with?”

Cllr Cole, defending the charge, was asked at a meeting of the council’s executive to reconsider in light of the government recommending the service should be free.

Carolyne Culver is chair of the West Berkshire Green party and a candidate in the upcoming May local elections for Ridgeway. She said: “They should abolish the bin charge because it discourages recycling.

“If they won’t abolish it, they should revisit it and make concessions like a 25 per cent discount for single occupants, or provide a smaller bin or bag for people with smaller gardens.”