A NEW green waste charge in Winchester will hit the poorest in the community, a meeting heard.

The Liberal Democrat-controlled city council today (Thursday, July 9) agreed to get rid of the green sacks in the spring and introduce a paid-for service with bins, with charges ranging from £39 for a 140 litre bin to £59 for a 240l one.

Opposition councillors say the new scheme will hit the poor.

Cllr Jamie Scott said:“I’m very frustrated for the communities such as Winnall and Stanmore, the most deprived in Winchester, where people are being stretched financially, we should have taken this into consideration. I’m speaking for the people who don’t know where the next meal is coming from, about putting food on the table.”

"We need to take one or two steps back and consider those who cant pay. I think Cabinet needs to rethink this," he told the health and environment policy committee on Tuesday.

"There should be a two-tier scheme. I thought councillors and officers were compassionate people, that is why councillors look after the most vulnerable people in the community. We are there for the residents who can't think for themselves."


Fellow Tory Cllr Frank Pearson said: "Many people are looking at this an as increase in council tax but we are not being honest about it. People are going to bebhit pretty hard by this additional charge. It is all very well saying 'take it to the recycling centre' but that it not quite as easy as it might imply."

Another Tory councillor Mike Read said: "This will be another plastic monster to go in the garden."

Cllr Martin Tod, Cabinet member for transformation, said he was confident there would be no increase in fly-tipping or contamination of the other bins. He said people would take their green waste to the recycling centre "for free".

The £39 charge is on average £8 cheaper than other areas, he told Cabinet.

He hopes 18,000 households will take up the new bins.

Steve Tilbury, strategic director, said evidence from other council that had moved from a free service was that "the overwhelming majority of people are responsible and recognise, even if they don't like the idea of a charge, that contaminating other bins is not public-spirited and will increase costs to the council and ultimately the council tax payer if bin loads are rejected.

"No council have reported major problems as a result. Most households are responsible and sensible."

Cllr Pearson predicted hostility from people who felt they were already paying for the service with their council tax.

Cllr Angela Clear raised the issue of space. "Lots of people have limited storage space for two" let alone three

Mr Tilbury said it was not practicable to have a bin scheme and a sack scheme running in tandem for green waste.

He pointed out the advantages of bins: "They last longer, they don't blow around as everyone knows the sacks do. The sacks get wet and heavy and a problem for staff who have to lift them, and don't know the weight they are picking up."

The Health and Safety Executive had expressed concerns about people handling the sacks, said Mr Tilbury.

Cllr Tod said he planned to share a bin with neighbours.