Since declaring a climate emergency last year, North Somerset Council has been developing a range of measures to tackle the challenge and the introduction of an annual charge for the garden waste service will encourage home composting - the cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to dispose of garden waste.
Cllr Bridget Petty, North Somerset Council's executive member whose portfolio includes recycling and waste, said: "While this hasn't been an easy decision to arrive at, we have continued to provide a collection without an annual charge for longer than two-thirds of other councils in the country, including all our neighbouring authorities."
Cllr Petty added that the council does recognise that not all residents have a garden and others already home compost or take their garden waste to a recycling centre.
"By introducing an annual charge we can continue to offer a good service for those who choose to pay. We will also be making a positive contribution to our carbon emissions target by encouraging more home composting."
The council does want to work with all households to encourage more home composting; to support residents the council is selling discounted compost bins for just £10, offering free online courses and lots of information on their website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/composting
"We're writing to all residents whose properties receive the service at the moment giving details of how they can sign up to continue to have their garden waste collected if they wish," said Cllr Petty.
"During consultation on the garden waste service last year, residents told us an initial discount was important and we've taken notice of that so we're giving a 10% 'early bird' discount available on the first bin if you sign up to the new service by Sunday 28 March.
"If you're eligible for the council tax support scheme, you also qualify for a subsidised garden waste collection service, the same proportion of discount will be applied when paying.
"If you have a smaller garden, one way of reducing the cost is to arrange to share the service with a neighbour."
Residents can pay for a maximum of two bins to be collected from their property for a one-year period of 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022 (the charge is £50 per bin). The frequency of collections will not change and for those who sign up, they should continue to use their existing garden waste bin or sacks. The collection day will stay the same for now but may change in the future.
"Being a councillor sometimes involves making difficult, unpopular decisions," added Cllr Petty. "Garden waste is not a statutory service and with council finances under a great deal of pressure and to protect essential services, we need to introduce this annual charge to cover the costs of the garden waste service and make it self-financing."