Adur and Worthing residents pay one of highest annual fees for garden waste collections in UK – and prices could rise next year

Green bin charges are set to rise in Adur and Worthing. Picture by Simon Dack/Vervate
Green bin charges are set to rise in Adur and Worthing. Picture by Simon Dack/Vervate

Adur and Worthing residents pay the joint second-highest annual subscription fee in the UK for their garden waste to be collected, Herald research has revealed.

Residents who wanted a green-lidded wheelie bin paid £80 at the start of the current financial year, nearly double the average for similar services offered by 222 councils across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The councils’ charge ranked below only Harlow (£96), based on our research which took into account subscription fees charged by all councils, with reductions usually available via direct debit.

Despite Adur and Worthing’s subscription fee being among the priciest in the UK, a report to the joint overview and scrutiny committee tonight (Thursday, November 29) revealed the annual charge could increase next year.

The councils have defended the charge, highlighting how its collections are weekly.

But Worthing Liberal Democrat councillor Bob Smytherman said: “The increase in green waste for another year is a smack in the teeth for people wanting to do the right thing with their green waste.”

Research looks at nearly 400 councils

The Herald investigated the prices charged by every council in the UK at district/borough level – nearly 400 authorities.

A total of 135 councils offer a garden waste collection service free of charge, according to our research.

Schemes not based on wheelie bins but things such as sacks, or pre-booked collections, were offered by 21 councils, while a handful do not operate an initiative or prices are not listed on their website.

Of the councils offering a wheelie bin collection, the average annual subscription fee was just over £42, our research found.

When signing up, some councils charged a one-off fee for hiring a bin, meaning the initial outlay for residents under several authorities would pay slightly higher than Adur and Worthing subscription in year one.

Do Adur and Worthing residents see any benefit for their money?

Adur and Worthing are among the few councils offering weekly collections of garden waste, with the vast majority on fortnightly, seasonal cycles.

A spokesman for the councils said: “We are committed to increasing recycling across Adur and Worthing and the provision of a discretionary green waste collection service is one of the ways that we encourage the local community to reuse materials.

“Unlike many other authorities across the country, our green waste service is weekly with collections all-year round.

“Nearly 15,000 households across Adur and Worthing are signed up to the service and we are seeing this figure increase year-on-year.

“We remain confident that the proposed price increase, which equates to less than 10p per week extra, will have no impact on the councils’ drive to improve recycling levels.”

Cheaper alternatives as green bin prices set to rise

Residents who do not want a regular green bin service can pay for garden sacks at £1.20 each.

But like the wheelie bin service, prices could rise next year.

Councillors will scrutinise savings proposals for the 2019/20 financial year and beyond at this evening’s meeting.

Among the papers is the potential to increase the green bin subscription fee to £85, and garden sacks to £1.25 each.

The scrutiny committee will also be presented with a report about the decision to move to fortnightly collections of non-recylable waste from September, 2019.

The report will discuss why a request for the decision of senior councillors to be scrutinised was rejected. Click here for the full story.

Adur Labour councillor Lee Cowen said: “I had two residents contact me earlier this year about the annual price hike and they’ve since cancelled.

“That’s two more residents who now dump green waste in their residual waste bin.”

Waverley Borough Council tied Adur and Worthing with an initial £80 subscription fee, with renewals charged at £60. A one-off charge for a bin was levied at £20.

A scheme for Arun residents is priced at £6.05 for a monthly direct debit – an annual cost of £72.60.

But a single year paid by credit card would cost £86.62, a figure reduced if paying for a longer term.