Fly-tipping fears over garden waste scheme in Edinburgh

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Garden waste collectionImage source, Other

Edinburgh could be faced with an increase in fly-tipping and backyard bonfires after less than half of residents with gardens signed up to the council's new waste collection service.

Only 45% of Edinburgh residents with gardens registered for the £25 annual garden waste scheme.

The policy, dubbed the 'garden tax', has experienced problems over payment and potential fraud.

The deadline has been extended until Tuesday following an IT glitch.

Saving £1.3m

Nick Cook, Conservative environment spokesman and councillor for Morningside, said: "Paltry sign up figures for the 'garden tax' only magnify concerns around increases in fly-tipping, garden bonfires and more waste going to landfill, harming our environment and costing taxpayers even more in the long term.

"With more people also likely to jump in their car and travel to the local recycling centre, the council must offer reassurances that they are ready to cope with increased demand and traffic on surrounding streets."

A total of 123,804 households across the city were eligible to opt into the new service, which will begin in October.

Only 56,028 households have signed up, registering 61,220 garden waste bins - which brings more than £1.3m from the scheme.

The council had expected only 46% of eligible households to sign up to the scheme but with more bins than properties being registered, the authority said the business case had been met.

Lesley Macinnes, Edinburgh's transport and environment convener, said: "We've worked hard to ensure that residents have been kept well informed of the changes to the garden waste service, so I'm pleased that so many people have responded.

"It's clear that the public recognise the benefits of this improved service, with so many choosing to sign up and more than 61,000 bins registered for collection, surpassing our targets.

"By introducing this change we will be saving around £1.3m every year, which will go towards the delivery of a range of essential services.

"We do acknowledge the risk of fly-tipping, if a small minority of people choose to dispose of their garden waste illegally, though we are confident that our three household waste recycling centres have the capacity to handle any garden waste from those who choose not to use the new service."

Refunds will not be offered for missed garden waste collections.

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