The omission of the garden waste collection service from a strategic review of South Gloucestershire Council’s waste services (see ‘Council consults on plan to almost halve size of black bin‘) has sparked a political row, with Liberal Democrats accusing the Conservatives of failing to live up to a promise made in their 2015 election manifesto that the opt-in charge for emptying green bins, introduced in 2014, would be axed.
Speaking after a meeting of SGC’s Communities Committee on 4th November, Cllr Claire Young (LibDem, Westerleigh) said: “The waste consultation agreed today was their big chance to meet their manifesto promise. We all know that it would be wrong to promise something you can’t deliver – so my residents are waiting for their free green bins.”
“We were shocked when they voted against even including consulting with the public on this. It shows that they never had any intention of meeting their manifesto promise. They were elected on a false promise, and they have to apologise to residents now.”
She added, “Their attempts to kick this into the long grass by claiming removing the charge was not a change of service were laughable. They’ve nowhere left to hide – they lied.”
Cllr Heather Goddard (Con, Hanham), Chair of the Communities Committee, defended the decision, saying: “The Waste Strategy has been in production since before the election. The whole council had previously, on a cross-party basis, signed up to this strategy and the proposals within it as to where savings in the waste budget might be found.”
“Consequently, given that we are aware of Liberal Democrat and Labour opposition to our position of removing the green bin charge, it made sense to separate the issues which have already been agreed to and consider green bins as a separate issue.”
“In our manifesto, we stated that we wanted to remove the ‘tax’ in a financially responsible manner and our pledge was to phase it out.”
“This is a budgetary issue, and, as such, the budget-setting process is the appropriate point to implement our pledge. We are currently preparing plans to introduce our first cut to the charge for the upcoming 2016/17 budget.”
This article originally appeared in the December 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.