New charges for garden and bulky waste in Basildon

Charges for garden waste bins and special collections of bulky waste are being introduced in an Essex borough.

Residents in Basildon will be charged £50 a year for one garden waste bin, which will be collected weekly, from April this year.

The service will be optional and residents who sign up in their first year will receive a 50 per cent discount on their first bin. Additional bins will cost £25, discounted to £15 if residents sign up in the first year.

The council’s cabinet approved the changes at a meeting last night (January 19), which also include increasing the price of bulky waste collections to £30 for five items and £50 for ten, a rise of £19 and £28 respectively.

Cabinet member for environment and carbon reduction Kevin Blake (Con, Burstead) said at the meeting: “Without significant change, we will not meet our environmental targets and the recycling service will continue to increase in cost year on year for diminishing performance.”

Basildon Council has committed to a 65 per cent recycling and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2035.

The changes went out for consultation with the public last year and received approximately 7,000 responses. 84 per cent against or strongly against charges for green waste and 90 per cent were in favour of free special collections for bulky waste.

At the meeting, opposition leader Councillor Maryam Yaqub (Labour, St Martin’s) noted the strong responses to the consultation and criticised putting the charges in place  during the cost of living crisis, when resident’s energy and food bills are continuing to rise.

She also claimed Conservative councillors, who currently control the council, had previously been against introducing charges.

Councillor Andrew Baggott (Con, Burstead), leader of the council, responded by saying in 2019, when discussions over the plans began, the cost of living crisis had not been an issue and that the council is also having to consider an increase in costs.

He said: “We have to cut our cloth according to the situation at the time, which is what we will do, we will be responsive to the residents, we will be empathetic towards residents and we will continue to engage with residents and do our very best to make sure we deliver a service that they want and something they can be proud of.

Additionally, non-recyclable waste will move to being collected in a wheelie bin, rather than sacks. The cabinet voted to consult the public over the frequency of collections for non-recyclable waste, either weekly or fortnightly.

Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter