A MEMBER of the Labour-led council executive has defended York residents’ environmental credentials in the face of a Liberal Democrat petition on the ‘green bin tax’.

Joint executive member for environment, Cllr Jenny Kent responded to news that 2,000 signatures have been obtained since September 8 backing the ‘Lib Dem call’.

A City of York Council report prepared for the executive last month outlined a ‘serious financial position’ with a forecasted overspend of £11.4 million in the 12 months to March 31 next year.

Amongst a range of income-generating recommendations made to the executive was to explore the potential to introduce green waste charging – which is a non-statutory service.

The report went on to state that charging for single green bin collections now covers the whole of North Yorkshire and revenues raised could be between £720,000 and £1.5 million per annum with the higher figure assuming 55% take up of the service.

It also said the service for a fortnightly collection in North Yorkshire County Council divisions costs residents there £43.50 a year.

A further report on the topic will be put before the executive to provide more detail about plans, cost and income.

The Lib Dems said York residents are making their voices heard on the idea.

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Liberal Democrat Environment spokesperson, Cllr Paula Widdowson said: “The green bin tax would be an environmental disaster.

“The council’s very own report into the green bin tax states that as little as 45% of current green bin users will take this up.

“Meaning up to 55% of existing users will cease to dispose of their garden waste in green bins which will mean a substantial rise in fly tipping, car journeys to waste centres and green waste in black bins.”

Cllr Kent said: “Rather than basing a decision on speculation, council officers have been asked to provide evidence on all environmental and social impacts that charging for green waste may have, before any decision is made.

“Encouraging home composting is likely to be better for the environment all round and predicting ‘fly-tipping and increased trips to waste centres’ does not reflect how environmentally responsible York residents are.

“Nearly 95% of Liberal Democrat controlled councils across the country already charge for green waste collections.

“We don’t yet know if York will join them, but can assure residents we will take the cost of living crisis into account before reaching any decision”.

In March 2022 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said there were currently 221 waste collection authorities (67% of all local authorities) in England that charge to collect garden was from household and had largely remained unchanged over a three-year period prior to then.