Midlothian garden waste bin charge gets the go-ahead

Midlothian Council Debating chamber at Midlothian House, Buccleuch St in Dalkeith, where Tuesday's meeting took place.
Midlothian Council Debating chamber at Midlothian House, Buccleuch St in Dalkeith, where Tuesday's meeting took place.

As expected, Midlothian Council has decided to introduce a charge for kerbside garden waste collections.

Residents wishing to retain their brown bin collections will be charged £35 per bin when the service re-starts in Spring 2019.

Plans for the implementation of the service were approved at Tuesday’s full council meeting. Letters will be sent to all residents in the New Year giving details of how to sign up online.

Residents who opt-in will continue to receive fortnightly collections of their garden waste from mid-March to mid-November. Residents who do not want to pay for the service can recycle their garden waste for free at Midlothian’s two household waste centres.

The proposal is expected to generate income of more than £560,000 per year, money that can be spent on core council services.

However, the decision to charge residents for this service is sure to cause anger, given council tax covers bin collections.

Councillor John Hackett (Lab), the cabinet member with responsibility for waste services, defended the charge, he said: “The paid for garden waste collection service is a convenient solution for residents who have a garden, but don’t have the time to go to one of the recycling centres themselves. Spread across the season, the charge is just £1.95 per collection.

“We fully understand why some residents might be unhappy about having to pay a small charge for a service that is currently provided free. However, we hope householders will appreciate the financial difficulties Midlothian Council is facing, and the value of the service, and sign up for garden waste collections.”