Charges for garden waste collections in Shropshire could begin from October if new proposals are agreed next week.

Papers set to go before Shropshire Council’s cabinet on Wednesday (July 17) show the authority is set to charge £56 a year to households for the previously free fortnightly green bin collections.

The move could bring in as much as £4million for the council’s coffers as it seeks to close a £62m hole in its budget for the year.

Currently around 127,000 Shropshire properties have their green waste collected by the council, with responses to a consultation held earlier this year indicating that around 55% of those who responded would take up the green waste subscription service.

Around 71,000 homes would be required to subscribe in order generate the £4m annual target.

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If the proposals are agreed, subscriptions for the service would open this August and anyone not subscribed by October would see their collections stop.  Residents would be able to pay the annual subscription up until March 2025 to cover the following summer’s collections.

Waste and recycling portfolio holder Ian Nellins said most councils already charge for the service and had done so from the beginning.

“An annual green waste subscription charge of £56 is in line with our neighbouring councils and will help us to make the required savings,” he said.

“Though the collection of garden waste is not a service that the council must by law provide, it is one that we want to continue to provide. And as not all residents need or want the service we would instead provide this as an opt-in chargeable service to those who need or want it.”

The move to a subscription model would also mean food waste collections in the county, which are currently collected in green waste bins, would stop temporarily.

Local authorities are not allowed to charge for the service, but Shropshire Council says it is working on an alternative food waste service in time for legislation which takes effect in 2026.

The authority currently collects just 2,500 tonnes of food waste a year, which is around 1% of the total waste collected in the county.

“The only change to the households that subscribe is that they will have to remove their food waste from their garden waste bin and the service will continue as normal,” added councillor Nellins.

“As we’ve said before, Shropshire Council is facing unprecedented financial pressure. We must make £62m of savings in 2024/25 to keep a balanced budget and our plans include difficult decisions.

“We must look at other ways of creating income so that we can protect essential front-line services for those residents most in need.”