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Garden waste collections in Monmouthshire given approval

AN INCREASE of £22 for garden waste collections has been agreed by councillors who’ve also approved an additional Christmas tree collection. 

Householders in Monmouthshire will, from April, have to pay a £50 annual fee for their garden waste to be collected at the kerbside by the county council, which makes 20 collections a year from March through to November. 
But the county council has also agreed to hold an additional collection in January to collect Christmas trees and in recognition of what it says are changes to the leaf fall season. 
Some 17,000 bins from 14,361 households were collected last year and a consultation found 67 per cent were in favour of the £50 charge and maintained fortnightly collections rather than reducing collections to either monthly or six weekly in return for a lower increase. 

The council says if all those who indicated they would be willing to pay the charge to continue to use the service it would generate £725,000 in revenue, enough to cover the £720,000 cost of collecting the waste. 
The £50 charge, which also forms part of Monmouthshire County Council’s budget for the upcoming year in which it will seek to raise an extra £1.4 million through charging for services while making £11.4m in cuts and savings, has been approved by the ruling-Labour cabinet. 
However, following comments from a council scrutiny committee, it has tweaked a proposal that the charge should increase every year by the RPI rate of inflation. 
Instead it has now been agreed that an annual increase will be based on RPI or less if income from collections in previous years exceeds what it costs the council to run the service. The annual charge would also be reviewed and revised. 

Cllr Catrin Maby, the cabinet for the environment, said the council is also keen to encourage home composting so people can deal with their garden waste as part of caring for their garden rather than for it having to be collected by the authority. 
The council is prohibited from making a profit from the service and while it says it doesn’t yet know how many people will sign up for collections if there is an excess the cash would be used to support services or schemes such as at cost compost bins or water butts. 
Clr Maby said during the 2021/22 financial year garden waste made up 4,700 tonnes of the 42,000 tonnes of the recyclable waste it collected at the kerbside which works out at around seven to 11 per cent. 
The council has seen an increase in garden waste collections since it replaced weekly sack collections with fortnightly wheelie bin collections in 2020/21 and the average for garden waste had been 3,200 tonnes.