ONE in six households in Vale of Glamorgan have signed up to a council’s garden waste collection service three weeks after its launch.
Vale of Galmorgan Council used to collect garden waste for free, but announced in May that residents would have to sign up to make a one-off payment for the service as of July 17.
Leader of the Plaid Cymru group at Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cllr Ian Johnson, criticised the council for making the change and asking people to pay for the garden waste subscription service during a cost-of-living crisis.
Vale of Glamorgan Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhood and building services, Cllr Mark Wilson, said the authority’s service, which cost between £20 and £30, was cheaper than using a private contractor and that subscription levels were rapidly increasing.
Cllr Johnson said: “The Labour-run Vale Council is charging people for a service that used to be part of their council tax. However, nearly a month into the new service, barely one in six households have signed up to pay for the Vale’s new garden waste collection.
“This is compared to sixty percent of households which used the service when it was free – nearly four times as many.”
At full council meeting on Monday, July 24, it was revealed that 8,157 subscriptions, representing 13.1% of all Vale of Glamorgan households, had been made to the service as of July 17.
The council said that 10,287 properties had signed up to the service as of Monday, August 6.
Cllr Johnson added: “This is all about the Vale Council’s budgets and bank balance and nothing to do with providing a useful service to people in Barry and the Vale.
“More than that, there has been no assessment of the impacts of this change on biodiversity, especially in urban areas, despite the council’s declaration of a Nature Emergency.”
Vale of Glamorgan Council said subscriptions had been increasing by about 80 properties per day for the past couple of weeks.
The council said that the level of subscription to the service reported for August 6 equalled £214,720 in revenue for this financial year.
A council spokesperson said: “Before the service was launched the council hoped that around 10,000 households would sign up to the service to help meet a savings target of £500,000 per year. Savings were identified based on the proposed subscription cost for the year, in addition to a reduction in the number of vehicles used on the service.
“This would provide additional revenue that’s needed to run the service without drawing on the council’s main revenue budget, which comes from council tax and other sources.
“Not all properties have gardens that produce garden waste so the service is now paid for by those that use it. This means the council’s main revenue budget can be allocated to services that are relied upon by all residents.”