HUNDREDS are calling for West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) to axe its newly approved garden waste charge.

It comes after the local authority agreed to introduce a £60 annual fee for residents to have their garden waste collected and disposed of at its budget-setting meeting in March.

This service had previously been free.

A petition has now been set up urging the council to reverse this decision and has gathered more than 930 signatures.

It references a similar move by Aberdeen City Council, which scrapped its garden waste charge earlier this year.

The petition reads: “I am a resident of West Dunbartonshire, and like many others, I am deeply concerned about the recent decision by our council to charge for brown bin pickup.

“This new policy feels unjust as we already pay significant council tax fees. The brown bin service is essential for managing garden waste responsibly.

“It encourages residents to maintain their gardens and contributes to environmental sustainability.

“According to the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), recycling garden waste through composting can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“However, introducing charges for this service could discourage its use. Residents might resort to less environmentally friendly methods of disposal or even fly-tipping, which has been a persistent problem in many parts of the UK according to Keep Britain Tidy.

“We understand that councils face financial pressures but believe that charging residents for essential services on top of existing taxes is not the solution.

“We urge West Dunbartonshire Council to reconsider this decision and find alternative ways of funding these vital services without placing an additional burden on residents.”

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The charge is not mandatory and is expected to come into force this summer.

Homeowners and tenants have been advised that it only applies to garden waste and not food waste which can still be put in the brown bin and will be collected.

A permit will cost £60 per bin per year and it is understood that this price will be reduced in 2024/25 as it is being introduced part-way through the season.

Following this announcement from the council, there was significant backlash from residents.

Three weeks ago, a Facebook group titled ‘Boycott WDC’s Brown Bin Charge’ was created which now has more than two thousand members.

One person raised concerns over the impact that the charge could have on elderly residents.

They wrote: “How does a pensioner who is still able to potter about in their garden but does not have a car and is on low income dispose of their grass and cuttings?”

A second branded the fee as a “council tax rise for those with gardens”.

Others voiced fears including the possibility of people falsifying permits or stealing bins and the amount of time refuse workers could have to spend checking permits are valid.

A WDC spokesperson said: “The council is facing a significant financial challenge and had to take steps to close a £17million budget gap for 2024/25 while protecting essential services and jobs.

“Collection of garden waste is not a statutory service and is not covered by council tax. It has been provided free of charge up until now.

"Most councils in Scotland have charged for this for a number of years with no evidence of increased flytipping.”

To view the petition visit HERE.