Controversial garden waste uplift fee comes into force

From June 1, West Lothian households will need a £50 permit if they want the council to collect garden waste.

Controversial garden waste uplift fee comes into force in West Lothian iStock

The controversial garden waste paid uplift gets under way in West Lothian this summer and householders can now purchase garden waste permits for 2024/25.

From June 1, households will need a £50 permit if they want the council to collect garden waste from home much to the protest of many residents.

Householders will need to display the permit in the brown bin. If garden waste is placed in your brown bin and you do not have a permit displayed, your bin will not be emptied.

Permits cost £50 per household and will be valid from June 1 to May 31 2025.

The permits brought protests before the budget decision earlier this year.

West Lothian Council said it has been forced to reduce spending and change a wide range of non–statutory services because of surging costs and a real-term cut in funding from the Scottish Government.

The introduction of the permit in the February budget caused uproar but council staff working in operational services and the largest union – the GMB – welcomed the decision saying it actively protects jobs and council services after years of ongoing cutbacks.

Non-statutory services are services which councils are not legally obliged to provide. Currently, garden waste collection is not a statutory service and some councils do not provide any garden collection.

The majority of councils, including neighbouring Falkirk, have now introduced charges. It is expected that garden waste uplift will become a statutory duty and costs covered by the Scottish Government grant to each local authority – which would see the newly introduced costs in West Lothian removed. 

The introduction of a chargeable garden waste service will generate an additional net income of around £1.15 million. This income will go towards the cost of providing the garden waste collection service.       

Leader of West Lothian Council Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: “After many years of sustained cuts to our budget, the options available to the council are now very limited in terms of reducing services to cut costs, and that is why the majority of councils already have similar charging schemes. Falkirk, for example, introduced a garden waste charging scheme last year.

“We’ve faced significant budget reductions since 2007 and introducing garden waste charges is a proposal that we’ve managed to avoid charging thus far.

“However, operational services – which provide vital services such as roads, paths, parks, recycling centres, waste and recycling – cannot sustain further cuts.

“We don’t believe that is what local residents want, either. Without increasing income via charging, the only option available is to look at reducing services further and we don’t want that. We want to protect services and protect jobs.

“It is inevitable that local services will change given the lack of funding being provided to us by the Scottish Government.

“We know that half of Scottish councils already charge for garden waste and I suspect that this number may increase, as all councils have budget savings to make and limited ways to make them.”

Residents can purchase their Garden Waste Permit and read a list of Frequently Asked Questions at:

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