Looks like a ‘battle of the Christmas trees’ has broken out between the two main political parties with members on Bath and North East Somerset Council.
The collection service for real discarded Christmas firs – put out after the festivities – has fallen victim to council cuts.
In previous years, the Council has picked up real trees – alongside the waste and recycling collections – for a couple of weeks after the festive period. However, the collection of green waste is to be suspended from December for a couple of months to save money.
However, questioning by Lib Dem Councillor Tim Ball has produced the following response:
‘The Council is putting in place the following services for residents who wish to dispose of their Christmas Trees.
The 3 recycling centres will continue to open 7 days per week for residents. Trees taken to the recycling centres will be recycled and we would encourage residents to use these facilities.
We have also been in talks with a local charity who run an existing tree collection scheme, and in return for a donation will be offering a limited collection across areas within Somerset, Wiltshire and parts of B&NES.’
Earlier, Cllr Ball was quick to condemn the arrangement.
“Trees were previously picked up as part of the garden waste collection, which has now been suspended from December to March. The Lib Dems warned back in the Spring that this decision would lead to problems,’ he said.
“Realistically, most people aren’t going to know about this change, so they will still put their trees out. It looks as though we’ll have a forest of dead trees cluttering up our streets come January.’
Well – maybe during January – but the ruling Tory group has now announced a slight change of plan. In a press statement – issued late this afternoon – the Council states:
‘Green waste collections across Bath and North East Somerset are set to restart on Monday 28 January, five weeks earlier than planned.
Bath & North East Somerset Council has been able to bring forward the resumption of garden waste collections after making savings in waste disposal – the direct result of an increase in the amount of waste local people are recycling.
Councillor Bob Goodman, cabinet member for Development and Neighbourhoods, said: “While the best way to dispose of garden waste is to compost it at home, we know residents value and make good use of our garden waste service. By restarting the service earlier than planned we hope to encourage people to recycle more and prevent unnecessary journeys to our recycling centres.”
There will be NO garden waste collections from Monday 3 December 2018 to Friday 25 January inclusive.
The council’s paid for fortnightly garden waste collection service will start again on Monday 28 January.
Christmas trees should be taken to our Recycling Centres, or they can be put out for collection free of charge on garden waste collection days between 28th January and the 8th February.
You can subscribe to our wheeled bin garden waste collection service for £44 per year with a one off delivery charge of £2.95. Alternatively you can purchase garden waste paper sacks for £2.75 each.’
Today – a further statement from Cllr Ball.
“Bringing back the garden waste collections a month earlier is a partial climb-down by the Conservative Cabinet, and we are glad they are starting to listen. However, the fact remains that residents will still be paying the full year’s subscription for 10 months of service.
“It’s also quite impractical to expect residents to hang on to dead Christmas trees until the end of January. Most people are still likely to put their trees out for collection early in the New Year, when they take their decorations down. I expect we will still see trees sitting around on the streets for most of January.”