Council will work on a business plan with partners SUEZ UK

East Devon District Council is exploring a fortnightly district-wide chargeable garden waste collection service for its residents.

Over the last six months the council has introduced a new improved recycling service to more than 68,000 households across the district and during this period, there has been considerable pressure from residents asking the council to provide a reliable garden waste collection service too.

Over the next few months, the council will investigate the feasibility of providing a garden waste collection service for a small annual fee. The council will work with its partners SUEZ, who are its current recycling and waste contractors, to develop a detailed business case. Many councils across the country successfully operate a chargeable collection service such as this and East Devon is keen to continue to improve and modernise its recycling and waste service by introducing this new initiative.

The move comes as the council’s recycling and waste partnership board agreed last month not to renew an expired contract with previous garden waste collection operators Otter Rotters Ltd who are a community enterprise group. There has been no formal agreement between the council and Otter Rotters Ltd since April 2016 and Otter Rotters Ltd confirmed to the council’s partnership board that it dissolved in February this year and was not currently operating. 

Cllr Tom Wright, the council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said that the council appreciated the work of Otter Rotters Ltd and its value to the community, particularly as they provided opportunities to disadvantaged people. The council, he said, had been trying to pay Otter Rotters Ltd for some time now for the work they had already carried out. Attempts to pay Otter Rotters Ltd were being hampered as it was no longer operating.

He said:

The council now needs to look to the future and meet the demand for a much-wanted regular and reliable garden waste collection service. We have been approached by many residents asking us to help them. There is obviously a gap in the market and we are keen to move forward and explore this opportunity.

We want to ensure that, among other things, this proposed service is sustainable in the long term, must cover its costs without being subsidised by the council tax payer, and operates across all areas of East Devon.

Our residents can rest assured that we will keep them fully informed of our progress.