THE cost of recycling green waste in the Malvern Hills is set to rise by almost 20 per cent in the new year.

The price increase is to hit about 3,500 households who subscribe to the fortnightly garden waste collection service offered by Malvern Hills District Council.

The service currently costs £60 a year, the same rate as when it was first introduced four years ago.

But that will now rise to £70 - an increase of 17 per cent - at the start of 2014 after members of the council’s executive committee voted to approve the price hike at a meeting on Tuesday (29).

Head of community services Ivor Pumfrey said although the council has managed to keep the cost constant since the service was introduced, escalating fuel, labour and maintenance costs mean an increase is now necessary.

“When it was established it was set up on a very clear basis that the full cost would be recovered by the charges and none of the burden would fall upon the general council tax payer,” he said.

Other changes being introduced will see a sliding “pro-rata” payment scale for part-year subscriptions replaced by set fees of £60 for anyone joining between three and six months into the year and £40 for those joining after six months.

Mr Pumfrey said this is to simplify the system but also to clamp down on some customers who “exploit” the existing system to avoid paying the full annual charge.

Portfolio holder for environmental control Bronwen Behan said the council had done well to avoid price increases for four years but others pointed to the fact that similar services cost considerably less in neighbouring districts - with Worcester City charging £37 and Wychavon £42.

Green leader Julian Roskams argued the council should be cutting costs.

“Are we trying to squeeze as much revenue as possible out of existing customers or do we want new ones,” he said. “We are going to get into a spiral where we will encourage fewer people to the service and we will have to put the costs up again.”

But deputy leader Paul Swinburn said the “basic rules of business” meant that if the council incurs greater costs it has to recover them.

He said he did not expect the “modest” price increase to deter people from the service.

Mr Pumfrey said the Malvern Hills service cannot be directly compared to neighbouring districts.

“Different authorities build up their costs in different ways and not all actually seek to recover the cost from their customers.

Some have chosen for their own reasons to incentivise,” he said.

  • Are you happy with the increased charge? Will it put you off using the green waste collection service?

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