Durham County Council want to start charging for the collection of garden waste from next year.
Kerbside collections for garden waste in County Durham will remain free this year, and then look set to continue from 2015 as an opt-in service with an annual fee of £20.
Following a public consultation last autumn, the authority claims there is enough interest across the county to enable the service to continue with the annual fee.
If Durham County Council’s Cabinet agree a report next week, a further 35,000 households will become eligible to opt into the scheme, taking the total number to 186,000. In Teesdale the service will continue under the third sector group Rotters.
The consultation also revealed that the majority of people willing to opt into the scheme wished to pay the £20 annual fee online via the council’s website.
The council’s Cabinet will now be asked to agree the introduction of the fee from spring 2015, with the service remaining free for this year.
Each home taking up the annual subscription will receive 16 collections. Moving to a small annual fee will also allow the council to make the necessary saving of £933,000 for this service.
Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, Cllr Brian Stephens, said: “I am very pleased we will be able to continue to offer this service in 2015 to those households wishing to opt in.
“There is clearly enough support to make kerbside collections with a small annual opt in fee viable and the fact that an additional 35,000 people will now have the choice to take it up if they would like to is excellent.
“I would like to thank all those people who took the time to give us their views and I hope that many more homes will now decide to take up this offer.”
Durham County Council faces required budget reductions of more than £224m (2011 – 2017) due to large reductions in Government grants.
While local authorities are not obliged to provide garden waste collections, of those which do, more than 35 per cent already charge separately for the service.
The £20 annual fee is considerably lower than the national average. Locally, it is the same as that already charged by Newcastle City Council and a little less than that in Northumberland.
All households eligible to join the scheme will receive a letter later in the year outlining how the service will operate and how the public can pay their subscription.
Anyone opting to take up a three year subscription will be eligible for a discounted rate of £50.
Households opting in will receive a unique number and sticker for their bin which will be cross referenced with a computerised system identifying those houses which are part of the scheme. Neighbours who want to share a bin can also make an arrangement between themselves to do that.
Cabinet members will be asked to approve the introduction of the new scheme when they meet at County Hall on March 19.