THE green waste scheme is being described as ‘cautiously successful’ by council chiefs after more bins had to be ordered to meet demand.
From March, residents had to start paying an annual charge of £40 for a bin or bag to have their green waste taken away.
Despite initial concerns, almost 11,000 residents have now signed up meaning the council have now had to order an extra 2,200 bins to make sure they do not run out. In total the council are looking for around 16,000 people to sign up before March next year to make the scheme financially viable, meaning they are on target.
However, concerns are still being raised over the issue of fly-tipping, with green waste being dumped around the town. The council has said there has been no significant increase in reports of fly-tipping, but they have started to log incidents.
The cabinet member in charge of waste collection, Coun Brian Ford (Con, Wroughton and Wichelstowe), said: “At the moment people are taking it up at a rate of between 200 and 300 per week, which is very good.
“I obviously do not expect this rate to continue and at some point it will drop off. At this stage I would say the scheme has been cautiously successful. We have had 11,000 sign up and it only started in March. I have just signed off on getting in more bins from our suppliers.”
The council has decided to crack down on those who fly-tip and it has emerged it is considering prosecuting individuals in two cases linked with dumping green waste.
“I have asked the officers to take a tough line with those who are breaking the law,” said Coun Ford.
“There are thousands of people who are paying the fee and living within the law so I do not see why others should not.
“People who break the law when it comes to fly-tipping will be prosecuted and we are looking at two possible cases.
“Officers have told me though there is no significant increase in fly-tipping but we’re monitoring the situation. There was no need to directly monitor green waste dumping before but I have asked for that now.”
The Labour group have dismissed claims the scheme can be considered a success and said green waste collections should remain free.
Coun Fay Howard (Liden, Eldene and Park South) said: “Queues to get in to the waste and recycling centre are at an all-time high and the fly-tipping of green waste has dramatically increased, leading to unsightly areas across the whole town. With this in mind, how can we say the new green waste service is a success?
“It is also not taking in to account those residents on low incomes who maintain their gardens but cannot afford to pay £40 for a collection service. The only way to reduce fly-tipping, keep queues manageable at the waste and recycling centre and ensure all residents have access to the same service, is to have a free green waste collection service.”