Opposition to plans for green waste collection charges and reduced hours at Hartlepool's recycling centre

Senior councillors from two political parties have said they will not back proposals to implement garden waste charges for residents in Hartlepool.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 11:02 am

Representatives from both the Labour Party and the Socialist Labour Party said they would not support the proposed charges for residents for removing green waste as part of 2020/21 budget plans.

The proposals are part of the Hartlepool Borough Council Neighbourhood Services Committee Savings Programme for 2020/21.

The programme also includes plans to close the Household Waste Recycling Centre on Mondays and Tuesdays, reducing the number of days it opens in a week to five.

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However, council officers have now explored the option to keep the site open on bank holidays, which reports state will cost £4,000, meaning the council would still make a £47,000 saving with the proposals for the site.

The introduction of the garden waste collection fee would raise an estimated £256,000 in 2020/21 for the council and more the following year.

Households would be required to pay £35 a year for green waste collection, commencing April 2020, if the charges are brought in. Coun Dave Hunter, deputy leader of the Labour Party on the council, said he would not support implementing such a charge on residents.

He said: “Speaking with a number of my colleagues, they fully agree with this, there is no way we are going to support the garden waste charge.”

Council officers said if they do not implement green waste charges they could miss out on potential government funding, with a consultation document last year looking at providing support to councils who have to make policy changes around garden waste.

Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher, from the Socialist Labour Party, said: “For me to hold my hand up and support the budget I’ve got to be comfortable with that budget, and my red line is I will not support the [garden waste] charge which was proposed.”

Council chiefs said they are looking to make savings as they attempt to balance the budget while facing a £2.636million deficit for 2020/21.