At last night’s budget Council Meeting Liberal Democrats again raised problems surrounding the new waste collection scheme being brought in by the Conservatives in April.
Lib Dem Cllr Sue Smith says “The council is planning to charge residents wishing to take part in the green waste scheme £60 a year for a wheelie bin and £1 for a paper sack. From figures in the budget papers the Lib Dems have uncovered the fact that the wheelie bins are only costing the council £25 and the paper sacks, only 15p each. How can the council justify the difference in what they are charging to residents?”
Sue added “The Lib Dems have always said the cost of joining the green waste scheme was too high. Other councils do it for much less. And not to have any concessions for those on low incomes is appalling, given those margins.”
And this is not the only problem with the new waste scheme. The Liberal Democrats are very concerned about whether it is strictly legal to force residents to get their plastic sacks from the council. Cllr Smith said “Last April the government sent a letter to councils telling them that they could not force people to buy plastic sacks from a single supplier. But that’s exactly what the Conservatives are planning to do. For us, there are big question marks over whether the Council is allowed to restrict people to their “official” sacks, especially as extra ones will cost £4 for 10, way above what normal black bin bags cost.”
The Lib Dems say that questions also remain on how the recycling incentive scheme will work, and how it will actually incentivise residents to recycle more. Councillor Smith says “Contrary to what Wokingham’s Conservative councillors claimed at the budget meeting, Wokingham has below average recycling rates. We need to do something to boost them but the details explaining how the scheme will actually achieve this are still shrouded in mystery.”
With just six weeks to go until the new scheme starts these questions need to be answered and time is running out.