Protest against Derby garden waste collection charges
A protest has been held in Derby over plans to start charging residents for garden waste to be collected.
The £40 annual charge is proposed by the Labour-led city council, and the protest was organised by the Conservative group.
The Conservatives described the charge as "a tax grab".
But the deputy leader of the council said the charge was necessary because of unfair cuts imposed by the Government.
Councillor Ranjit Banwait said: "Public services in Derby are on their knees at the moment and we are fighting for our very survival."
Mr Banwait said charging for garden waste collections would save the authority £1.6m a year, which would help it protect services such as children's centres and care homes.
Members of the Axe The Derby Bin Tax campaign were by the Ram statue on East Street, asking people to sign their petition.
Mr Banwait was by the statue with members of the Fair Deal For Derby campaign, which argues that the city has been unfairly affected by Government cuts.
This campaign collects signature petitions each Saturday.
The Conservative group of the council was not available for comment but a statement on its website said: "We want to stop Labour's cynical Brown Bin Tax being forced upon the people of Derby and need your support."
Mr Banwait said it was wrong to call the charge a tax because people could choose whether to pay it or not.
He said the current garden waste collections were unfair to people with small gardens or no gardens, because their council tax subsidised wealthy people with large gardens.
"A third of local authorities across the country already charge for their collection of garden waste," he said. "We have to prioritise."
Consultation over the proposed charges ends in January.