Proposed three-weekly black bin collection and £40 garden waste charge will be subject to a '˜genuine consultation' vow councillors

Councillors have voted unanimously to press ahead with a consultation on possible changes to bin collections in Central Bedfordshire, including the option of moving to a three-weekly collection and charging for garden waste.

Black bins could become a three-weekly collection
Black bins could become a three-weekly collection

Central Beds Council agreed to proceed with seeking residents’ views at its Executive meeting held at Chicksands yesterday.

Members were at pains to point out that at this stage they would be merely seeking residents’ opinions.

Cllr Budge Wells said: “I stress that this is to go out to public consultation only at this stage.” He added that there would be a second report that would come back to the council presenting the results of the consultation.

He said the waste crews did a “superb” job, pointing out that in a given week there was 232,000 bins collected, with just 70 missed on average.

Cllr Ian Dalgarno said the council would look to roll food waste collection across Central Beds to address concerns about smelly bins with a three-weekly general waste pick-up. He added: “This is probably one of the largest consultations we have done as an authority. Probably even bigger than the budget. It’s a genuine consultation.”

Cllr Nigel Young said he thought residents would welcome the possible introduction of glass collection. He added: “Waste collection is a hugely emotive subject to our residents. Many perceive waste collection as the only service they get from the council.

“The vast majority of council tax goes on supporting vulnerable adults and vunerable children. There is a minumum amount of money spent on waste collection.”

Council leader James Jamieson said: “This is a genuine consultation. There are a series of options there are we await feedback from residents.”

The report presented to councillors suggested the introduction of a £40 annual charge for taking away garden refuse. This could potentially bring in around £2.514m annually for CBC.

Currently 30% of council make a charge, while 17 out of 369 authorities have moved to a three-weekly operation for general rubbish. This change could save the council an estimated £1.785m annually.

The council’s consultation will also focus on additional boxes and caddies for further recycling across the whole district of glass and food waste.