Briefing – Registration for the 2019/20 Edinburgh “Garden Tax” Opens Tomorrow.


Below is a briefing on the 2019\20 “Garden Tax” – registration is 26th June to 7th August, for a service which will start in October.  

There is no doubt that Edinburgh’s “Garden Tax” remains unpopular in many households. However, now that it is in place it is proving to difficult to remove. It is clear that the majority of Edinburgh’s Councillors oppose it, but finding the money to return to the old “free” system is proving difficult. A recent Tory\Green proposal to end the “Garden Tax” had to be withdrawn as they were unable to fund it. 


21 June 2019
What’s happening?

  1. Since the new garden waste service started last October
    67,500 properties have signed up for the service
    73,200 permits have been registered
    Over 9,000 tonnes of garden waste have already been turned into compost.
  2. Permits for the current garden waste service year expire on 6 October. To receive collections after this date residents will need to renew their permits, or sign up to the service, by 2pm on 7 August.
  3. Registration opens on Wednesday 26 June at 9am (in locality offices and phonelines) and 10am for online registration.
  4. Registration will be open until 2pm on Wednesday 7 August.
    Permits will be sent out 6 – 8 weeks after this date.
  5. We’re writing to existing customers and properties which use the kerbside recycling and waste service to ask them to renew their permits or sign up to the service. This is being supported by a communications plan to help raise awareness.
  6. Residents can sign up to receive fortnightly garden waste collections for £25 per brown bin.
  7. The next service year will run from 7 October 2019 – 4 October 2020.
  8. We’ll empty brown bins once every two weeks, except over the festive period when there will be no collections between 16 December 2019 and 14 January 2020.
  9. Residents who renew their permit or sign up during this registration window will be sent a permit in late September that will be valid from 7 October 2019 – 4 October 2020.
  10. There will only be one more opportunity to sign up to the new service year (in January 2020) but the payment will remain at £25 and permits will be valid until 4 October. Residents who sign up during the January registration window will be sent their permit 6 – 8 weeks after the window closes.


How to register

  1. The quickest and easiest way to register and pay is on our website. A one-off payment of £25 (per brown bin) will be taken by debit or credit card. (New customers will need to set up a account first, which they can do from our website).
  2. If they don’t have access to the internet they can use the self-service kiosks at one of our five local offices (they’ll need to have registered for an online account first or have access to email on a mobile).
    North East Office, 101 Niddrie Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH16 4DS
    North West Office, 8 West Pilton Gardens, Edinburgh, EH4 4DP
    South East Office, 40 Captain’s Road, Edinburgh, EH17 8QF
    South West Office, 10 Westside Plaza, Edinburgh, EH14 2ST
    Customer Hub, 249 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ
  3. Local libraries also offer free internet access.
  4. Alternatively, residents can pay by debit/credit card or cash at our Customer Hub (High Street) or South West (West Side Plaza) locality offices only.
  5. Payment can be made over the phone by calling 0131 608 1100 (press option 1, then option 9, then option 1), however, we expect phone lines to be busy and there may be long waiting times. Phone lines are open Monday – Thursday, 8.30am – 5pm and Friday 8.30am – 3.40pm.
  6. We don’t accept cheques. If any cheques are sent to you please send them on to waste services who will return them (Waste and Cleansing Services, Level 3, Waverley Court, Edinburgh, EH8 8BG).


Does everyone need to pay?

  1. Residents who receive Council Tax Reduction (formerly called Council Tax Benefit) don’t need to pay for the service but they do need to register to receive it. Other exemptions, such as single occupancy discount or garden aid, don’t qualify for free garden waste collections.
  2. A small number of properties in the Colinton area have their garden waste collected by the Tiphereth charity and they also need to register and pay to continue receiving the service.
    o Tiphereth customers receive weekly collections of their bagged garden waste.


How does the service work?

  1. We’ll empty brown bins once every two weeks, except over the festive period when there will be no collections between 16 December 2019 and 14 January 2020.
    o The festive break in service allows us to divert resources to other recycling and waste streams during the busy festive period.
  2. Residents need to renew their permits every year before they expire to continue receiving the service.
  3. The new service year runs from 7 October 2019 – 4 October 2020 and registration for this closes at 2pm on 7 August 2019. There will only be one more opportunity to sign up for the new service year (in January 2020) but the payment will remain at £25 for a permit which will be valid until 4 October 2020.
  4. Permits are not prorated for residents who sign up in January.
    Once a resident has signed up we will send them a new collection calendar and permit sticker 6 – 8 weeks after registration closes.
  5. We’ll only empty brown bins with valid permit stickers.
  6. There is no limit to how many garden waste bins a property can have but there will be a charge of £25 per bin.
  7. Residents can share a bin with their neighbours, but they’ll need to agree on one resident acting as the lead for booking and paying for the service. If there are any service issues with the shared bin (eg a missed collection), this must be reported against the address that registered for the permit.
  8.  If a resident moves to a new house they can transfer their permit to their new address. They’ll need to give us six weeks’ notice to update our system and take their brown bin and permit sticker to their new address.
  9. Terms and conditions will be available on our website

Why we’re charging for garden waste collections

  1. Our costs are increasing and more people are using our services, whilst our income is reducing. The £25 per year charge was agreed by the Council at a meeting in February 2018 and it’s estimated it will save £1.4 million each year and allow us to provide a more frequent service.
  2. As garden waste collection is not a statutory service and with reducing budgets and increasing costs, we can no longer afford to provide the service for free.
  3. Over 40% of councils in the UK charge for a garden waste collection and some have stopped the service altogether.
  4. The £25 charge is lower than many other councils and works out at around 50p per week.
  5. Any changes to garden waste collections being a paid for service would be made at full Council as part of budget consultations.

Further information, including the terms and conditions are available on our website.

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