Garden bins will cost £660,000 per year

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A council is spending £660,000 a year rolling out a free garden waste collection service, just weeks after revealing plans to close 10 public toilets in a bid to save cash.

Amber Valley Borough Council will provide the service to 45,000 households from next April.

The decision comes just two weeks after the council voted to close toilets, including two in Belper, to save £60,000 a year.

Unless residents are already subscribed to the green bins service they will have to pay £20 to have their new bin delivered.

The council said it would use the payments to help fund the new collection service.

Amber Valley Borough Council Labour Group leader, Paul Jones, said: “It’s a matter of priorities. The council’s controlling group feel garden waste bins are a bigger priority than people who need to go to the toilet.

“In a town like Belper we need to encourage people to come in and I know what I would spend the money on.

“It’s a £2 per person saving on the toilets. The council should be about public service. There are some people who will make use of the green bins service but I would say if there was a huge demand they would have done it already.”

Conservative councillor for Belper East, Martin Tomlinson, said the green bins had been introduced due to popular demand and pointed out that the council is asking businesses to make their toilets available for a yearly fee.

He said: “People asked for this (green bins) and we have delivered. We didn’t just decide to do this, it’s what people wanted and there was a big demand.

“In some areas the demand for green waste is higher than others but this was a popular choice.

“The community toilet scheme was the model to build over the toilet issue.”

In a survey carried out by the council the most popular collection option for garden and food waste was free and fortnightly at 31.7 per cent.

Nearly 77.9 per cent of the 1,200 people who responded said they would request an additional wheeled bin for garden waste.

However, more than 11 per cent said they had inadequate storage facilities for another bin, with 10.9 per cent saying they did not require a garden /food waste bin because they either did not have a garden or did not produce any garden waste. The free collection service will run throughout the year, except during the winter months of December, January and February and will collect everything from dead flowers to plants, garden weeds, grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, leaves and small twigs and branches.

Residents must order one of the bins from the council before a deadline of December 17 to secure delivery in time for the start of the new service.

Residents have also been receiving another wheeled bin for the start of an improved household recycling service on November 19.

A waste collection and recycling calendar for the next twelve months is also about to be delivered and this will contain more details about how to order a garden waste bin.