I have made no secret of the fact that I opposed the “Garden Tax”, but I accept that it’s introduction is hard to stop given the extent of the cuts the Scottish Government has forced on our capital. I welcome the fact that we now have a firm implementation plan, but regret the muddle that was associated with the registration process and the stress it caused many residents. In particular, I hope the Council will learn lessons from how many vulnerable and older people in our capital were simply unable to use the online registration process that was initially forced on them. The avalanche of bad publicity that came with that was hugely damaging to the Council, but surely explains why public engagement with the charge is higher than expected.
The unpredicted problems with the registration process and the resultant delays must have added considerably to the cost of setting up the service. I wholeheartedly hope that there are no further unseen costs or delays when the service goes live – not least any caused by the fly-tipping of garden waste to avoid the charge.
Below is the latest briefing from the Councillor behind this charge – The SNP’s Lesley MacInnes.
Garden waste update
Registration for the new paid for garden waste service closed in July. Since then waste services has been working to analyse the data and create new routes for the service.
- Residents requested a total of 61,221 permits for 56,300 properties
- The Council has exceeded its business case target and generated just under £1.4 million.
- 86% of residents registered for the service online.
- The current on-line missed bin form is being adapted to allow only residents who have registered for the service to report a missed garden waste bin.
- A project review session has taken place since July and improvements have been built in to the next registration window.
- The new service starts from Monday 8 October.
- Permits and calendars will be posted to residents the week beginning 24 September.
- Residents who have not signed up but use any of our kerbside or box collection services will also be sent a letter with information about the next registration window and a new calendar as they may have a change to their bin collection days.
- Tiphereth customers who have signed up will continue to have weekly garden waste collections. Tiphereth will provide these residents with a year’s supply of tags to attach to their garden waste bags.
- The last free collection of garden waste will be on Friday 5 October. Residents who have not signed up for the service should check their current calendars for their last collection before this date. For some residents their last garden waste collection may be as early as 17 September.
- The next registration window opens at 9am, 1 October and closes at 12pm, 16 October.
- Residents who have not signed up are encouraged to compost their waste or take it to one of our recycling centres.
- They can also book a special uplift for their garden waste for £35 for up to 28 bags of waste.
Changes to collection days for all forms of household collections
As part of the 2018/19 budget proposals it was agreed at Council that existing kerbside collection shift patterns would move to a four-day week rota. This change will start from 8 October and benefits include the following:
- the Council can make £500,000 in savings
- kerbside collections will take place between 6am and 5pm, Tuesdays – Fridays
- some residents will have a change to their bin collection days
- we won’t be accessing residential estates during the evening
- crews won’t be going into the gardens of Assisted Collection properties after dark
- communal bins will continue to be serviced seven days a week.
Kerbside bin collections have been re-routed as part of the move to four-day week collections and some residents will have a one-off interim collection of their bins. We will write to these residents with a new collection calendar and let them know when the collection is taking place and what they need to do:
- interim collections will take place between:
- 6am on Saturday 6 October and 10pm on Sunday 7 October
- 6am on Saturday 13 October and 10pm on Sunday 14 October
- residents should put their bins out by 6am on the Saturday and leave them out until they are emptied. This is a one-off situation, as we make the adjustment to the new schedules.
- residents should use their new collection calendars from 8 October.
- The next registration window for garden waste opens at 9am, 1 October – 12pm 16 October.
- The fortnightly garden waste service costs £25 and provides a permit which will be valid until 6 October 2019.
- The quickest and easiest way to sign up is on our website.
- Residents without access to the internet at home can use the self-serve kiosks at our locality offices, internet at libraries or register by phone. For online registration, residents will need to register for a MyGov account first if they do not already have one.
- Customers who can’t register online can pay in cash or card at Locality offices. They can also call on 0131 608 1100 (option 1, then option 9). Additional staff are being brought in to support this service.
- Residents who receive Council Tax Reduction (formerly called Council Tax Benefit) do not need to pay for the service, however they still need to register to receive it. Other exemptions such as single occupancy discount do not qualify for free garden waste collections.
- The registration period will be supported by an awareness campaign.
- Customers who missed the first window have been able to ‘register an interest’ and will be sent email reminders when the new window opens. Frequently asked questions will be reviewed and updated on our website as required. Information for residents is available on our website.
- Once residents have registered it will take 6 – 8 weeks for us to add them to our collection routes and send a garden waste permit before we can start emptying their bin. This includes a 14-day cooling off period which we need to legally factor in.
- Another registration window will be available for residents to sign up from 4 – 19 February 2019.
Collection of unwanted bins
- Residents who have not registered and no longer want their brown bin can take it to one of our recycling centres.
- An online form will also be available at the end of October for residents to arrange for their brown bin to be uplifted. Residents without internet access will be able to call us on 0131 608 1100 (option 1, then option 9) to request the removal of their bin. The online form will also be available at the self-serve kiosks in our locality offices.
- The window for residents to tell us they no longer want their bin will last until the end of November.
- We will take a planned approach to collecting the bins during December.
Summary of key dates
|13 September||Elected Member briefing.|
|Week commencing 17 September||Briefing to internal colleagues including training for additional contact centre staff.|
|Week commencing 24 September||Residents receive permits and calendars for garden waste and/or new recycling and residual waste collections.|
|1 October||Garden waste registration opens (ends 16th October).|
|5 October||Current garden waste service stops. Residents who have not signed up should check their current calendars for their last collection before this date.|
|8 October||New garden waste and recycling/residual waste service starts.|
|16 October||Registration window closes at 12pm.|
|25 October||Form for requesting uplift of unwanted brown bins goes live.|