Hertsmere councillors have binned plans for a garden waste collection charge in 2024.

The borough council agreed plans for a £50-per-year green bin subscription in September 2023, which was due to begin in April this year.

But at a meeting on Wednesday, February 7, authority leaders agreed to reduce the subscription fee to £0 – instead launching the charge in April 2025.

Hertsmere Borough Council had planned to use the estimated £870,000 income from garden waste fees to set up a new, free food waste collection service.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in Westminster has since told the authority it is set to receive £764,605 of central government money to support the kitchen caddy service, according to a meeting report.

A windfall local government pot worth around £130,000, which Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove launched on January 24, will also go towards the service.

“These two amounts put together cover our first year’s green bin service,” said Liberal Democrat councillor Chris Shenton, who represents Bushey St James ward and is responsible for the borough’s budget.

Cllr Paul Richards, deputy leader and Liberal Democrat councillor representing Bushey North, said: “The decision we took back in September is that as a discretionary service, it should be opt-in.

“We are able to allay fears in the community that there was potentially a 12-month gap where residents would not be subscribing to garden waste and in the absence of a food waste service, their ability to recycle food waste was diminished.”

Hertsmere Borough Council does not currently charge for garden waste, which is recycled together with food waste in a green bin.

From April 2025, the authority will charge £50-per-year for a garden waste bin collection, rising to £60 per bin per year for each additional container.

Operatives will collect food waste free of charge from 2025 – ahead of new recycling rules across England set out in the “seven bins” law.

As a result of the Environment Act 2021, authorities must collect glass, metal, plastic, paper and card, food waste, garden waste, and black bag waste separately, unless separating them has “no significant environmental benefit”.

Leader of the opposition and Conservative Group Cllr Morris Bright, of Elstree ward, accused leaders of a “tax grab, effectively”.

All of Hertsmere’s neighbouring authorities in Hertfordshire and Greater London charge for garden waste collections.