Will garden waste fee just be the tip of the iceberg?

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WHILST North Tyneside Council do undertake some excellent and well thought out works (such as those undertaken by the Adaptations and Loan Equipment Service and the new play areas in Cullercoats and Whitley Bay), sadly another ill conceived “saving” has come to pass.

As already noted in the letters pages, the council are to levy a £20 fee for the use of the garden waste bin.

Great say I, I can get rid of one of the trio of wheelie bins outside the front of my house (not so long ago people bemoaned the one bin, now our yards and drives are cluttered with a multitude them).

For a minimal fee I can purchase a second “composter” which will accommodate all my household and garden waste and save myself a £20 a year fee (for a service which was previously included in our council tax), a figure which I am sure will increase as time progresses. Whilst this solution is not open to all, it is one way of avoiding the charge.

Of course the damage to the environment from those who need to take their garden waste to the refuse tip, coupled with the increased jams traffic to the site effecting the surrounding road network will have been taken into account.

I certainly predict a rise in fly tipping of garden waste, which will easily cost the council more than the current inclusive service to both police and clear up (how do you trace a grass cutting to its owner – CCTV by every ditch and open area?).

You may think I jest but the addition of a disposal fee on tyres resulted in a continuing problem of tyres being dumped on any unwatched area (a local industrial estate is a constant site of this).

Another question – the waste collection lorry will still be calling at my neighbour to collect their garden waste, so is it environmentally and economically sound for the vehicle not to collect mine, it will be covering that same distances for less load, or has the cost been based on all of the residents opting in and the cost for the collection service to rocket next year when it turns out to be under subscribed?

I also wonder if this is the tip of the iceberg, are we now to enter into a pay-per-use system where we have a basic (high) charge and then additional fees to enable us to use additional services (ie an annual fee for library access cards)? Will dog owners be getting a dog waste bin emptying fee? The list is endless once you start targeting areas of individual use.

It is possible to make the recycling of garden waste to compost a viable business, has this been investigated? What about the heat produced during the composting process, has the use of this as a source of renewable energy been fully investigated – Could North Tyneside be a UK leader in this area?

Yes I appreciate that currently the cost of the garden waste disposal is included in the fees of all, even those without gardens, but I beg to ask if I am to get a rebate as I do not use the facilities of care homes or day care services (for example) at the present time?

On another note, let’s get on and do what should have been carried out years ago, reinstate the Tynemouth outdoor pool to its former glory, it will attract more people and their money to the area, and I’m sure most potential users would agree that to pay a nominal fee for the service and its upkeep would be worthwhile.

People are happier to pay for improvements rather than for services that are already provided on an inclusive basis.

Perhaps something that will hit home come the next local elections?

COLIN PICKETT

Westley Avenue

Whitley Bay