Highland Council to introduce annual charge for brown bins

Highland Council has announced it will start charging a £30 annual fee for brown wheelie bins, which collect ‘green waste’ and are emptied fortnightly from spring to late autumn.

Around 67,000 households in the region have the bins, which contain waste including grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, leaves, twigs and small branches, flowers and other plants and weeds.

The £30 charge, which is aimed at helping to plug a £20 million funding gap, has been opposed by an online petition: The online Petition Against The £30 Charge For Collecting Brown Bins, and has gained about 120 signatures so far.

Critics of the charge have warned it could lead to fly tipping and would discriminate against low income households because it is charged in addition to council tax.

Allan Henderson, chairman of the council's community services committee, said: "On consulting the public, as the council needs to move towards being more commercial, it was made clear that all householders should be given an option, but with a small charge for the service.

"On budget day this was agreed right across the chamber."

Kate Forbes, SNP MSP Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, commented: "I think we have to be really careful because this could undermine efforts to reduce landfill and potentially increase fly tipping.

"This is firmly and squarely a decision by Highland Council, not the Scottish government - and it isn't the local MSP's responsibility to interfere with that.

"However, I do think households are paying enough for local services with council tax rising three per cent for every band, and even more for the bands E, F, G and H."