LABOUR appears to have confirmed its plans to introduce charging for green bins (The Press, January 17). No details have emerged, but the intention is clear with their much-delayed report finally going to Cabinet next month.

I just hope they have learnt from other parts of the country. In Newcastle, 40,000 residents boycotted plans to introduce a new £20 fee and returned their recycling bins. This and similar examples elsewhere tell us that where residents have received a ‘free’ service (albeit funded by council tax), charging risks being unpopular and detrimental to recycling rates.

Already, after the closure of Beckfield Lane, the council is missing its recycling targets and is on track to pay £3.3million in landfill tax this year. At a time when we should be tackling this by encouraging residents to recycle and exploring options such as food recycling, introducing new charges is risky.

This is why proper consultation is so important. Whatever the final plans involve, it is crucial residents are consulted, listened to, and the council is prepared to change its policy as a result. On issues such as litter bin cuts and library sell-offs, Labour didn’t listen. I just hope on this one they do.

Coun Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for environmental services.