COTSWOLD District Council has made a dramatic U-turn on cuts to the garden waste collections throughout the winter, part of changes to the waste collection service being introduced later this year.

At a meeting of the authority this week councillors considered a motion that called for kerbside garden waste collections to continue during the winter.

Councillors agreed late last year to suspend garden waste collections for a three month period, during the winter, and supported a move from weekly to fortnightly collections. At that time the council said it would consider reducing the cost of the service to offset the changes.

But at the latest meeting of the authority, held on February 26, councillors voted in favour of the continuation of all-year round collections on a fortnightly basis.

It was also agreed that the garden waste licence fee should continue at £30 for the 2019 to 2020 financial year. A council report suggests the move will save the authority £122,000 per year.

The keys changes to the waste service, now agreed are:

• Garden waste collections will continue on a weekly basis until the council introduce a new fleet of vehicles towards the end of this year - probably during October or November the authority expect - to replace most of its current vehicles.

• Once the new fleet begins operations later this year, garden waste collections will then move from a weekly to a fortnightly basis.

• Kerbside food collections will continue on a weekly basis, and, when the new fleet begins operations residents will be provided with bigger more robust animal-proof caddies for their food waste.

• The new fleet of vehicles will allow the council to introduce extra kerbside recycling options for the very first time - textiles, batteries, small electrical and electronic items and Tetrapak cartons.

• Prior to the new vehicles being introduced, the council will review how waste collection rounds are organised to maximise the efficiency of them across the district.

• This will result in a change to collection days for some residents, and they will be informed before any changes.

Cotswold District Council member for environment Cllr Sue Coakley said: “The collection of garden waste is an optional service, so it is important that we ensure the cost is not borne by all residents.

"By pegging the fee at £30 the cost of the service will just about break even thanks to the introduction of fortnightly collections.

"We originally proposed a winter break – and a subsequent reduction in the licence fee - but we became aware that residents would rather we continued all year round.

“We will be reviewing the service before the end of January 2020, in direct consultation with all garden waste licence holders, and this will enable us to gauge the effectiveness of these changes.

"By then, we will also be able to take into account any updates to government-led proposals, which might even include government funding of garden waste collections.

“For the time being, I must stress that the annual £30 licence fee is still remarkably good value compared with other neighbouring authorities who charge more for collecting fortnightly.”

The new arrangements are set to come into effect from November 1.

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