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Latest News

New Garden Waste Service to begin

(July 26, 2017)

New Garden Waste Service Due to Begin




Garden Waste with Cllr Sanders and Cllr Sampson
 West Devon and South Hams talk about money

When West Devon Borough Council first introduced garden waste collections, the Council chose to provide the service free to residents, rather than charge. Now, due to financial cuts, the Council is no longer able to provide the service free of charge and is introducing a new subscribed service as it seeks to bridge a budget gap of £1.1 million by 2020.   

Leader of West Devon Borough Council, Cllr Philip Sanders, explains: “We simply cannot afford to collect garden waste free of charge anymore. Collecting garden waste is discretionary, which means that the Council is not legally obliged to provide the service. However, we do recognise that many households value it and that is why we are introducing new ‘opt in’ garden waste collections instead of removing the service completely.”

“Residents can reasonably say that we can manage on less money, we have up to now, but we’ve had to start chipping away at some of the edges. This really illustrates the sort of level that we’ve got to with our budget gap, it is now so tight that we are having to review things like this.” 

West Devon Borough Council has a duty to collect general waste and recycling, and receives an income from recycled materials which it collects from residents. For example, glass, cans and plastic have a resale value and the Council receives recycling credits from the County Council for every tonne of recycled material. 

Garden waste collections are different, since there is no requirement to collect it, the Council is responsible for the entire cost of the service and does not receive an income from collecting garden waste.

Cllr Robert Sampson, Lead Member for Commercial Services added: “This is not something we want to do, and it’s clearly not something our residents favour. However, we have reached a critical point where we have to make these difficult decisions.

“The new charge would balance the books and offset the cost of providing the service. By recovering the cost of collection we can keep offering the service to householders across the Borough for those residents who wish to use it.”

Once collected, garden waste is passed to Devon County Council and the waste is processed into compost at a cost. Due to legislation, the compost can only be use on the farm site where it is produced.

The compost cannot contain any other materials such as tape, polystyrene, cardboard or staples, which is why the Council has removed cardboard from the new garden waste collections.  Cardboard can still be placed in recycling containers or taken to the recycling centre.

In the new service, sacks will be green and tagged with a brightly coloured permit so that they are easily identified by crews. They will also be slightly weighted to help prevent them blowing around in windy weather. In addition, the crews will soon have the benefit of new technology in the collection vehicles which show which properties have subscribed to the service.

If there is problem, for example, a vehicle breakdown, the crew can report this instantly via the technology in the collection vehicles, which then shows the customer service team who can keep customers informed. In the longer term, the Council aims to communicate with customers through the Council’s website.

The new service begins week commencing Monday 31 July 2017.

For more details of the new garden waste subscription service, the garden waste team will be on the road visiting the following areas:

  • Chagford      Main Car Park - Tuesday 25 July 2017
  • National      Parks Visitor Centre, Princetown - Saturday 29 July 2017
  • Okehampton      Co-op - Thursday 3 August 2017
  • Okehampton      Show - Thursday 10 August 2017
  • Harrowbeer      Air Show - Saturday 12 August 2017
  • Chagford      Show - Thursday 17 August 2017

Residents who wish to sign up for the new scheme can do so at The subscription service costs £40 per year and provides four sacks and four permits per subscription.

If residents need assistance with the online form or would like to pay by phone, please ring 01822 813671.


Please be aware   that telephone calls to and from the Council may be recorded for training and   monitoring purposes.

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