Melton Borough Council votes to dump the 'bin tax' petition
By melton_mark | Thursday, April 19, 2012, 10:33
At Wednesday night's full council meeting, Melton Borough Councillors voted by 19 votes to 6 to reject the 'bin tax' petition - meaning there will be no changes to the new recycling service and Green Waste Club. Therefore all residents - including those on benefits - will have to pay the full £32 annual charge if they want to have their garden waste collected - something which was included in the council tax in previous years.
Rob Watson at Melton Borough Council
From 1 April 2012 brown bins are now used for mixed recycling instead of garden waste.
Melton Borough Councillors voted 19 to 6 to reject the petition and motion.
The original decision was taken by the Rural, Economic, and Environmental Affairs Committee in January without any public consultation on the options presented to them; and was implemented at the beginning of April. However following a public outcry, local resident Rob Watson organised a petition that was signed by 1864 local residents - passing the 1,500 needed to trigger a full council debate:
- "We the undersigned petition Melton Borough Council to reconsider the proposed changes to the waste management contract because a £32 charge is unfair, and a universal service would be more effective"
Mr Watson was given 5 minutes (and at the Mayor's discretion an additional 5 seconds!) to outline his concerns, and he was complimented by both Conservative and Labour councillors on his presentation. However it quickly became clear that the debate would divide down party lines.
Conservative councillors stated that the changes in waste collection were saving the council £117,000 net per year, enabling them to freeze council tax again this year; and that it would cost over £400,000 to reinstate the service. Conservative John Wyatt summed up his objections by saying:
- "Put this petition in the recycling bin - and there won't be any charge to take it away!"
Labour councillors Matthew O'Callaghan and Trevor Moncrieff also submitted a motion which was discussed alongside the petition:
- "Council resolves: To fund the collection of green waste out of reserves for this year. In the short term to look at ways of mitigating the effect of the charge for disadvantaged individuals/groups"
When it came to the vote, everyone voted along party lines, with the 6 Labour councillors voting in favour of the petition / motion and 17 Conservative councillors and both Independents voting against. Click here to see how each Melton Borough Councillor voted.
After the meeting I spoke to Rob Watson who said:
- "I was really disappointed with the standard of debate. The Conservative group voted on block - they are out of touch with the public. They didn't look at what's right for Melton residents."