LETTER: User overpays through the nose

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The Green Waste service is much valued and so it is no surprise that those residents who can afford it will sign up.

HDC reported in detail in December 2012 that the £29 charge was calculated to cover all the collection cost (as well as the extra admin cost) based on a 40 per cent take up (just over 20,000 households).

We are now told the ‘good news’ that the target has been exceeded with over 50 per cent of households signed up.

Yet HDC now says that this will allow it to ‘offset more than planned against the actual cost of delivering the service’.

Hold on a minute! Surely that means that HDC is now receiving more in fees, than it incurs in collection cost, doesn’t it? I make it 5,000 x £29 i.e. almost a £150,000 surplus. This sounds to me like ‘User (over)Pays’!

And it doesn’t stop there. HDC conveniently forgot to specifically tell you (when it originally proposed the charge) that it also receives recycling credits for green waste, in the form of a Recycling Support Grant from WSCC.

For green waste these credits are in excess of £50 per ton. So with over 12,500 tons collected per annum, this makes £625,000.

Now it is true that HDC has to pay out of this money a ‘gate fee’ to the green waste processor (Olus). But I have totalled all the payments to Olus on the HDC transparency log for the last year and they add up to less than £320,000.

So the net income to HDC for recycling this green waste is over £300,000 per annum.

Add this to the almost £150,000 surplus now made on collection costs and you can see that HDC make an overall profit on the green waste scheme of around £450,000.

Wow! This is fast becoming ‘User Pays (through the nose)’.

So the only conclusion is that green waste scheme overall is ‘profitable’ and that the participants are subsidising the non-participants. How can that be fair ? I have previously asked (at a council meeting) for a commitment to ‘fair pricing’ but in those famous words ‘I have to tell you that no such undertaking has been received’.

Also, consider this: Conservative controlled, Amber Valley council in Derbyshire was charging £40 for its green waste service but is, this year, going to a free service for all residents.

Q. How is it planning to fund this cost ?

A. Through recycling credit payments from Derbyshire County Council. Well I never!

Finally, in February 2013 HDC authorised a spend of almost £72,000 to purchase an extra 4,000 bins to supply to those households requiring second green waste bins.

The Delegated Decision log shows that no alternate action was considered, not even the recovery and re-use of this quantity of bins from

those households not participating. At even 80 per cent take up there will be over 10,000 bins previously paid for by HDC and now abandoned to residents.

So why was the greener (bin) recycling option not even apparently considered?

PAUL KORNYCKY

Cox Green, Rudgwick