WEST Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) have confirmed changes to their garden waste collection system.

From August 12, residents will have to pay to have their garden waste collected and disposed of.

The introduction of the £60 annual charge for this service was confirmed at WDC's budget-setting meeting back in March.

Permit holders will be entitled to fortnightly garden waste collections between April and November each year, making the cost equivalent to approximately £3.75 per uplift.

The permit, in the form of a sticker clearly marking which address it belongs to, will be mailed out to those who sign up and should be displayed on brown bins.

Clear instructions will be provided on the permit itself.

Only bins with valid permits will have their garden waste collected, however residents who do not sign up for a garden waste permit can still use the brown bin to dispose of food waste.

The permit has been reduced to £26 for 2024/25 due to implementation of the scheme part way through the year, with a full-year permit costing £60 from 2025/26.

This charge was introduced by WDC in an effort to plug its £8.3million budget black hole.

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Councillor David McBride, convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “In common with councils across the country, we are having to consider how we can continue to deliver the services our communities rely on with reduced funding.

“Council tax does not cover a statutory collection of garden waste and up until this point it was something we provided residents with free of charge, however the cost of this has now become prohibitive.

“Due to the financial challenges the Council faces, with a £17million budget shortfall for 2024/25, and an increase in landfill tax rates by the Scottish Government this year, it is not possible to continue delivering services in the same way.

"Our focus, therefore, is on protecting frontline services and jobs where possible.”

Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, vice convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, added: “Most Councils across Scotland already charge for this service while some others do not collect garden waste at all.

"I would urge anyone who wishes to continue to have their garden waste collected from their property to sign up to the scheme now and benefit from the maximum number of collections available this year.”

Following the reminder on social media, residents shared their reactions to the news.

One person said: "Any bin with a sticker will be used to dump garden waste, or get stolen.

"Fly-tipping will increase."

A second added: "Those of us with small gardens would only need the bin emptied a couple of times, not every fortnight.

"Why should we pay the same as someone with a larger garden that needs the bin emptied more regularly?

A third commented: "I thought council and government were supposed to encouraging recycling waste."