Councillors have passed controversial plans to charge residents with gardens £40 for fortnightly green waste collections.

Cabinet members on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council agreed to introduce the fortnightly garden waste subscription service, which will come into effect from April. The £40 fee will cover fortnightly collections between April and November.

Rather than remove the service, the council said it would be retained for those residents that need it but charge them £40. At an earlier meeting, Liberal Democrat Tristan Learoyd described the charge as “outrageous” and “disgraceful”.

He said green waste collections prevented the setting of garden fires to dispose of cuttings and clippings, along with potential fly-tipping.

Speaking after the decision on Tuesday, Lib Dem councillor, Malcolm Head, who represents the West Dyke ward, said it could lead to people putting garden waste into other bins.

He added: “I am not for charging people and I would vote against it if you could get away with it. But if every household pays £40 for it, then it saves the service really.”

Independent councillor for the Loftus ward, Wayne Davies, said: “I can understand where the council is coming from – they have to balance the budget and they haven’t got the money to meet rising demand in bread and butter services like children’s services.”

He noted that only certain households have garden waste so those residents who do not have gardens are currently subsidising the service those who do.

The council is reportedly exploring payment options to spread the cost of the charge as well as reinvestment into council street scene services.

“Residents also have the option of a compost bin, for a nominal fee, if they choose not to subscribe,” said Cllr Adam Brook, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods.

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“The majority of local authorities, locally and nationally, have made the decision to introduce chargeable garden waste collections amidst rising budget pressures,” he said. “We are a responsible council, and it is imperative that we make savings to balance the finances.

“So, we have agreed to introduce an annual fee of £40 to help us plug that gap and pay for the increasing costs associated with dealing with waste. By introducing a chargeable garden waste service, we can ensure that the service remains sustainable.

“Introducing a subscription fee also means that the service will only be paid for by those households that choose to use it. This is similar to bulky waste collections where only households requesting the service have to pay.”