The council giveth, and the council taketh away

During a funeral service, I heard the priest intone the words “and the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away”. It’s a bit like Pendle Council, I thought, for they giveth us a garden waste collection service and they taketh it away, unless you pay £25, that is.

Green recycling wheelie bin
Green recycling wheelie bin

A pensioner friend who is a keen gardener was very worried about the additional pressure on her budget and asked me to look into the matter. I contacted the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which lays down rules for the collection of any waste and learned the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 states local authorities have the responsibility to collect household waste in their areas.

However, there are exceptions, namely garden waste and bulky items, such as furniture, fridges, etc.

Collecting any of these is up to the local authority’s discretion and, under the Controlled Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2012, councils can charge for taking them away.

When I presented my findings to my friend, she said: “Well, the council should have made that clear when they gave us the bins in the first place. It is a bit underhanded to spring it on us after all these years.” She was right, but should we not be used to this sort of financial legerdemain?

How many times in the past have both councils and governments handed out largesse or started a project with no idea of what it is going to cost and then, years later, expected the taxpayer to bale them out?

Melissa Chapman-Browne