Bin charge would protect jobs, says Highland Council

Image caption, About 67,000 households in the Highland Council area have brown bins

Charging for the emptying of wheelie bins used for recycling garden waste would help protect up to 30 jobs, Highland Council has said.

It is to start charging the £30 annual fee from 1 July for the brown wheelie bins, which are emptied fortnightly from spring to late autumn.

About 67,000 households, mostly in Inverness and large towns such as Fort William, have the bins.

The charge is opposed by an online campaign and petition.

Organisers of the campaign say it would lead to fly tipping and would discriminate against low income households because it is charged in addition to council tax. Highland councillors approved a 3% increase in the basic rate of council tax for 2017-18 last month.

Highland Council has sought to explain why the new charge for emptying brown bins is being introduced.

As well as putting information online, it said in a statement that £660,000 in additional income could be generated, based on a 33% uptake of the service within households that currently received the service.

The local authority said a similar scheme was introduced by Angus Council in July 2016.

It added that the £30-per-household charge has been identified to be at the lower end of charges where they have been introduced, and that the average per-household charge in England was £42.

Allan Henderson, chairman of Highland Council's community services committee, said: "Savings made by charging for brown bins helps to sustain around 25-30 jobs and protect services.

"The alternative option was to stop the brown bin collection service altogether or make cuts to other services."

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