A DECISION by councillors not to introduce a charge for brown bin collections has been hailed as a victory by opposition council members.
The Labour and Independent group which leads East Staffordshire Borough Council decided to drop plans to bring in green waste fees following lengthy consideration, saying that the change may have breached the current waste contract.
But Tory councillors, who campaigned against the so called ‘stealth tax’, claim it would not have happened without their hard work
In a statement released to the Mail, the Conservative group said: “Following a concerted campaign by local Conservative councillors against the Labour and Independent-controlled council’s proposed introduction of charges for the collection of green waste, the Labour and Independent group have done a dramatic U-turn.”
They claim the decision, which was also considered by the Tories when they were in power, stopped a ‘huge council tax increase’ getting in through the back door.
Councillor Dennis Fletcher, cabinet member for built environment at the authority, denied the Tory campaign had influenced the decision.
Along with contract issues, there were other concerns, he said.
In a report compiled by council officers, it says: “The introduction of a chargeable service may lead to resistance from the public and negative publicity. It may also increase the level of fly tipping. Uncertainty over the level of participation of a chargeable service may lead to difficulties in accurately assessing the financial implications.”
The measure was considered as a way to slash £400,000 from the budget, along with a host of other changes to green waste.
Other ideas mooted were suspending green waste collections in winter, and the removal of food waste from the brown bins.
The authority’s cabinet was due to agree to retain the system as it is when they met this evening.