Lessons in waste management from Wiltshire Council

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

Wiltshire Council is a unitary authority that covers the whole of Wiltshire where I live; this now excludes Swindon thereby relieving all of us of a dreadful responsibility.  WC is run by the Conservatives who are more or less successfully keeping the council tax down by being lean or mean, according to your point of view.

Up to now, WC has provided everyone with a fortnightly garden waste collection service funded by the council tax.  Despite my numerous compost heaps, I am a very regular user, not only of this service, but also of the local recycling centres.  However, WC's finances are now under pressure.  A public consultation about garden waste collections showed that people overwhelmingly preferred a slightly reduced service to an additional charge.  Despite this, WC has decided it has to charge £40/ year for the service – for those that continue to want it.

This is a happy outcome for WC executives as the council tax will not be going up, and a promise will be kept.  However, a key question is: what will those with limited green waste do?  Pay the £40, get in the car and drive to a recycling centre, or find other ways to get rid of their waste.  An increase in roadside tipping is predicted by some of those opposing the change, as is a reduction in overall recycling rates (reported to be, currently, a miserable 52%).  This will be a less-happy outcome, but is seen by WC to be better than being seen to raise the tax.  It estimates that 20% of residents will pay the charge, and that, at these levels, the cost saving will be £800,000.  We shall see.




Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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