Confusion as Central Bedfordshire Council makes changes to its garden waste policies

A Central Bedfordshire Council green waste bin.A Central Bedfordshire Council green waste bin.
A Central Bedfordshire Council green waste bin.
Collections are changing to a subscription only service from Apil 1

New garden waste collection policies revealed by Central Bedfordshire Council are seemingly as clear as mud to some residents.

The local authority has published its plans after receiving a complaint from 11 Conservative CBC councillors upset that the information was leaked on social media by Independent councillors in Dunstable.

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Initially it seemed the council would be collecting garden waste bins from households which no longer required them, but that idea has been put on ice for now. Unwanted bins are expected to be collected after a three-month review period.

In its own post on Facebook, CBC explained: “Garden waste collections in Central Bedfordshire are changing to a subscription only service from April 1.

“To continue with your kerbside collections after that date, the annual charge is £55. Garden waste can still be taken to your local household waste recycling centre free of charge, or you can compost it at home.

“Councils across the UK have been impacted by high inflation, and an increase in demand on adult social care and children’s services.

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“We’re looking closely at what we spend, how to run services more efficiently and how we provide them. Although we’re in a much better place than some, local authorities everywhere are having to make some tough decisions.

“Introducing a subscription only garden waste collection, as 70 per cent of councils do already, is one of those awkward choices. For residents who don’t subscribe, the garden bin should remain with the property and not be used for any other purposes.

“We want to give people an opportunity to consider taking up the subscription service first and intend to collect unwanted bins following a three-month review period.”

A local resident asked the council if just one size of garden waste bin was available or whether it could “supply a 360L size”?

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CBC replied: “There’s one size of bin, but you can have up to three bins. The £55 charge is per bin.” It then later added: “We have a 240L bin and a 140L bin. You can request a second bin, but you will be charged per bin.”

Another resident suggested: “CBC, you’re not instilling confidence when you contradict yourself in less than 24 hours. There was one size of bin 17 hours ago.

“An hour ago, there are two sizes of bin. If you can’t get that right, it’s understandable that people don’t trust what you say.”

And one resident described the policy as “laughable”, saying: “You logistically don’t have space or a plan to accommodate all the unwanted bins.”

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The Conservative councillors wrote to CBC’s chief executive Marcel Coiffait and director of place and communities Lorna Carver to express their “extreme frustration that the practical operational details of the scheme are shared with the public by Facebook posts”, before being issued to all members.

“Shared screenshots of an Independent councillor’s Facebook posts isn’t an appropriate fashion,” they said.

Independent Dunstable East councillor John Gurney has removed his post subsequently, and apologised for publishing and sharing it to other groups in the town on Facebook.