A former councillor has threatened legal action over new green bin charges.

Former Slough Borough Councillor Geoff Howard said he will take Bucks Council to court if residents are not given a reduction in council tax to compensate for a new garden waste collection charge in the Wycombe area.

Bucks Council recently agreed an “opt-in” garden waste collection charge for residents in the former Wycombe district area.

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Other areas such as the former Aylesbury Vale, Chiltern, and South Bucks patches have an opt-in service charging for collection of garden waste.

The charge will come into force in July and be £50 per bin, per year.

But former cabinet member for resources at Slough Borough Council, Mr Howard said the cost was already included in council tax “to the detriment” of residents who had “no need for a green bin because they do not have gardens”, such as people in flats.

Bucks Free Press:

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He thinks people should have been receiving a tax refund for a service ‘they could not take up’ – or that they receive a reduction in council tax now.

Bucks Council said it is an “optional service”, and anyone without a garden or who does not want a green bin “won’t be charged” anyway.

“This is not something that I agree with unless there is a reduction in council tax to compensate for this,” said Mr Howard.

“The council’s attitude that they have been providing this service for ‘free’ up to now is, of course, total nonsense.

“The cost was included in council tax to the detriment of council tax paying residents who had no need for a green bin because they do not have gardens, such as people living in flats.

“These people should have been receiving a council tax refund for a service that there was no possibility of them being able to take up.

“In my view, High Wycombe should never have introduced a ‘free’ green bin service in the first place.

“The council tax paying residents who could never partake of this ‘free’ service should have been entitled to a council tax refund when the ‘free’ service was introduced.

“The proposal to ‘harmonise’ garden waste charges across the county is the right course of action to take by the council as it is equitable and people are being treated exactly the same.

“However, the council tax paying residents of the High Wycombe area, if they wish to partake in a chargeable scheme, must be entitled to a council tax refund to match the proposed cost of £50 per year. I intend to challenge the council on this matter, if needs be in court.”

Cllr Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: "Our chargeable 'opt-in' garden waste collection service (costing £50 per bin, per year) will be rolled out to all residents in the county from 4 July 2022. This is happening to make sure all Buckinghamshire residents are offered exactly the same garden waste service at the same price.

"As former Wycombe district area residents are particularly affected by these changes, every household in this part of the county will get a letter explaining the details and offering the chance to sign up to this optional service.

"Aligning charges for the garden waste service will ensure parity across all areas and that Buckinghamshire's residents are treated equally.

"Garden waste collection is an optional service, so anyone without a garden or who doesn't want a green waste collection service can simply choose not to sign up, and therefore won't be charged for the service. Residents who don't sign up can of course take their garden waste to one of our Household Recycing Centres where it will be recycled free of charge."