Last year, Colchester Council announced plans to begin charging for the garden waste disposal which has commenced since 15th January 2024. The council faces many financial challenges due to a tightly wound budget used for a multitude of things to be able to run things efficiently. The total costs to run the garden disposal free for the residents used to reach £1.8 million annually. There was a prediction of the charged service bringing in an estimate of £1.5 million by 2025- this will be an asset to our council. The council had a target of under 8000 people to have signed up for the service but around 16,000 people have signed up, therefore double the initial target has been reached by January 10th.

The councils charging for this service is not particularly new as already 9 out of 12 councils within Essex, now including the Colchester council charge for the service. The residents will be given up to 25 collections annually, the service will also be available to all the hard-to-reach properties using the smaller bin lift lorries to reach them.

The service is opt-in with a fee of £35 for joining, in addition there will be a charge of £55 annually. Instead of waste being collected in the garden waste reusable bags, the use of brown wheeled bins will be implemented with a choice of a smaller size. If you have signed up to the service, there will be a permit provided to you that must be attached to the bin for your garden waste to be taken away.

The additional revenue generated this way can be directed towards more essential aspects of the city infrastructure and social care. This will benefit the residents and enhance their city living experience. Though some residents are going to not or reluctantly sign up for this service, I feel that the overall benefits are in the interest of the local community.