Council apology after green waste scheme sign-up labelled ‘an omnishambles’

Horsham District Council brown bins with the green waste charge sticker
Horsham District Council brown bins with the green waste charge sticker

People have described the registration process for the new green waste collection scheme as an ‘omnishambles’.

Residents can register for Horsham District Council’s at any time throughout the financial year, but if they do not sign up before Saturday May 18, they will still have to pay the full £29 annual charge and risk missing a collection.

From June 1 staff will stop emptying bins which do not display the sticker proving the address has registered with the scheme.

The council has budgeted for at least 40 per cent of households to sign up which equates to 20,324. They are already well in reach that target with more than 18,000 households registered to date.

But people commenting in this week’s online debate on the County Times’s website have highlighted a number of teething problems and some even said it was the first they had heard of the scheme.

Ugly Betty said: “I’ve met with three people this week who either knew nothing about it or had heard an odd bit but knew no more.

“They haven’t seen the bin label that the bin guys put on the bins last week.

“HDC need to do more to educate the elderly about this. It’s going to be a shambles if they don’t get on with it.

“Mind you if they can’t get the labels out fast enough (not that they should have realised this) it’s not going to work anyway.”

Others raised concern about possible tampering with stickers and fly-tipping.

ChainsawMassacre said: “This is fast becoming the omnishambles that was predicted many months ago by many people.

“If they don’t get the 40 per cent sign ups that HDC want as a minimum I do wonder what they will do about the shortfall. That is a question I’ve asked HDC many times and never received a suitable answer - just ‘we will have to wait and see’!

“I’m going to guess that they will simply put the price up next year so even less people sign up.

“As for fly tipping of garden waste - its already started. There’s a pile in Pondtail Road and in a ditch off Hills farm Lane.”

Fireyfish27 agreed saying: “The big problem with (the stickers) is that you have to write in your address into a white box on it.

“This is best done with a black permanent pen. The same pen that can be washed off with a spot of petrol or white spirit.

“This then allows for the bin to be stolen and ‘readdressed to another owner’. This I am aware has already been done to a neighbour of mine.

“I agreed it’s an omnishambles that was totally predicted by many, many people and the worst of all is that HDC don’t really understand how bad it is.”

Horsham District Council has apologised for ‘any frustration’ people may have experienced and they are currently working to speed up the process.

A spokesman said: “We’re sorry for any frustration caused by the time it takes to process Direct Debit payments or problems people have when signing up.

“Over 18,000 people have already signed up for the garden waste service, the Council has issued 13,500 stickers so far and will issue a further 3,500 in the next week.

“It usually takes about four weeks to issue a sticker because the Direct Debit rules require a three week delay between receiving the mandate and taking a payment, however we are speeding this up to two weeks to assist people who have not yet signed up.

“Residents can still sign up to the service at any time but must do so before May 18 to ensure they receive their sticker before we stop the service for bins that do not have a valid sticker displayed on June 1. Anyone who has waited more than four weeks can contact the council by calling 01403 739459 and we will resolve the problem as quickly as possible.”

For more details and to sign up to the garden waste household collection scheme, visit www.horsham.gov.uk