Redbridge Council U-turns on garden waste collection charges

Redbridge Council green waste bags waiting for collection. Picture: RON JEFFRIES

Redbridge Council green waste bags waiting for collection. Picture: RON JEFFRIES - Credit: Archant

Redbridge Council has made a dramatic U-turn and reintroduced free garden waste collections with “old style bags”, just seven months after launching the scheme.

In March the Labour administration introduced an annual charge of £50 for a roll of 50 bags, with fortnightly collections between April and October – and none for the rest of the year.

However after residents complained these were “worse than a pound shop”, and reported huge queues coming out of Chigwell Road Recyling Centre, the council has reintroduced the free collection.

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “Balancing much-loved services against the ongoing costs required to provide vital care to the elderly and vulnerable, alongside continued government cuts, is challenging and means we must consider innovative changes to every service we provide.

“Following the Our Streets commission report, we’ve reviewed the service as I promised earlier in the year, and after considering all the options we have decided a free fortnightly service would be the best way forward.”

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The news comes after the Redbridge Conservatives organised a petition to reinstate the original garden waste collection service, with almost 5,000 signatures.

Tory group leader Cllr Paul Canal told the Recorder: “Labour can take no credit for their U-turn on a calamitous decision.

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“Residents have suffered months of a service that was so low quality, Labour should refund all of the money that was spent on the shoddy bags.

“It’s only because of our petition that Cllr Jas Athwal has changed his mind again.”

Cllr Canal said there has been huge concern among residents over the paid-for scheme which resulted in dangerous queues at the Chigwell Road Reuse and Recycling Centre, South Woodford.

“There is a back-up on the A406 causing traffic chaos and dangerous driving,” he added.

The Recorder letters section has been filled with correspondence complaining about the green waste charges over the past seven months.

Regular contributor Ron Jeffies, 84, of Spearpoint Gardens, Aldborough Hatch, said he was delighted with the news.

“No longer will I have to struggle with plastic bags that split when rose clippings and thorny shrub cuttings are put inside,” he said.

“I am aware that some residents have been hiding their green garden waste in with the household refuse and others have fly-tipped their green stuff.

“There will be no excuse for this kind of thing next year. I congratulate Redbridge Council for listening to the concerns of residents. Well done and thanks.”

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