'Green garden tax' not applied in Wakefield as waste collections remain free

The council runs free garden waste pick-ups for eight months of the year.
The council runs free garden waste pick-ups for eight months of the year.

Green-fingered gardeners in Wakefield are escaping charges for waste collections being imposed elsewhere in West Yorkshire, it has emerged.

The district's residents can have their compost, weeds and grass clippings picked up for free every couple of weeks between March and November every year.

But a study of similar services across the rest of the country shows that Wakefield is one of only 100 local authorities not to make people pay for the collections.

At a regional level, Leeds is the only other council to offer free pick-ups for gardening waste.

The good news for keen gardeners in Wakefield is the situation is unlikely to change, despite council cutbacks and the recent introduction of charges for some services.

In fact, the government is considering having waste collection charges abolished altogether, amid criticism that they amount to a "green garden tax".

Glynn Humphries, Service Director for Environment and Streetscene, said: “We provide a seasonal service for garden waste for households from mid-March to mid-November.

"There is currently no plan to introduce charging and we’ll await the outcome of several Government consultations which are considering if garden waste collections should be free to householders and funded centrally."

In Calderdale, households are charged a benchmark fee of £40 a year for a fortnightly collections service.

In Bradford, a £37 annual fee is charged for a monthly service, with branches out to an extra £18.50 if they want a second bin collected.

Kirklees gardeners also have to root around for cash. They pay £37.50 per year for the service, with £30 charged for any second bin.

The Local Government Association (LGA) defended councils who charge for the collections, arguing they, "have to be paid by someone".

But Anthony O'Sullivan, managing director of The Gardeners' Club, said:

"UK gardeners are increasingly being punished with a quiet green-garden tax which seems to go against every other positive environmental initiative that the UK is trying to promote.

"UK councils are increasingly charging residents to dispose of green garden waste, which for many will result in a lack of enthusiasm to keep their gardens looking good, working as they should and potentially increasing the demand for alternative ‘care free’ gardens based around decking, patios, concrete and worst still… plastic artificial grass!"

Local Democracy Reporting Service