SEVERAL thousand new green waste wheelie bins remain unclaimed.

It hardly took the soothsaying skills of a Nostradamus to predict the limited uptake at this stage, but let us not deliver final judgement until the new system of charges is up and running.

As there is no evidence whatever that the council has a vendetta against the environment, we can safely say it took the decision to levy these charges because its financial situation is at crisis point.

After all, any suggestion that paid-for green waste collection is somehow better for the environment than free collection is an utter nonsense.

At best, paid-for collection encourages smoke-belching bonfires, fossil fuel-gobbling trips to the tip and the sneaky inclusion of green waste in household refuse heading for landfill.

At worst it encourages flytipping.

The council calculated 16,600 households would take part in the scheme, but only 2,800 have so far ordered one of the new bins.

We fervently hope the calculations were correct, that they took account of a common tendency for people’s actions to differ from their voiced intentions, and that every one of the new bins finds active use in the borough.

We also appeal to anybody who thinks they’ll benefit from the scheme to come forward and pledge their participation as soon as possible.

There are some who take a perverse satisfaction when a council scheme such as this doesn’t succeed.

Those people should take a long hard look at themselves, because if this one fails we’ll all suffer.