Residents in County Durham are being invited to give their views on how changes to the council’s garden waste collection service could work best for them.
Last month members of Durham County Council’s Cabinet agreed to hold a consultation on proposals that would see households paying a £20 annual fee to have their garden waste collected.
Members agreed that the consultation would help the council to understand how those opting into the service would like it to work and how they would like to pay for it.
The changes were drawn up as part of the council’s efforts to save almost £222m between 2011 and 2017, in response to huge reductions in government funding.
A report to Cabinet stated that introducing the annual fee would mean the service would deliver the necessary savings of £933,000.
The fortnightly collections are currently provided free of charge to more than 150,000 households across the county between April and November.
Those residents who are currently eligible would be able to choose whether they still want to sign up for the service and an additional 35,000 households – which previously could not have their garden waste collected – would also have the chance to sign up.
In Teesdale the garden waste collection service is provided via an agreement between Durham County Council and Rotters – a not-for-profit organisation.
The council will work with Rotters so that the partnership can continue to operate for Teesdale residents wanting to continue to use the service.
In some very rural areas residents who currently have their garden waste collected would no longer receive this service but would instead be able to use a mobile household waste recycling service, which would include garden waste, from next spring.
Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships at Durham County Council, said: “Financially we are in a position whereby we just don’t have the money to deliver some of the services we would like to for free anymore.
“However, we will also need to understand how people wanting to continue to use the scheme, or who will now qualify for it, would prefer to pay and how they would like to have the service delivered.
“This consultation will help us to understand that.”
The consultation will end on Monday, October 28.
People can have their say at www.durham.gov.uk/consultation
Paper copies of the consultation document can be obtained by contacting Durham County Council on 03000 266 112.