THE cost of garden waste collections could soon get cheaper for SOmerset households.

Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) has proposed a cut in the cost of garden waste collections after securing a deal with new collections contractor, SUEZ.

From next April – if the five Somerset councils that make up the Partnership agree – the cost of a year’s fortnightly garden waste collections will not rise, as in recent years, but fall to £55.50 from its present £56.90, reflecting the reduced cost.

The option of garden waste sacks is also expected to fall, from £28.40 for 10 sacks today to £27.50 next April.

Most waste charges – such as those at recycling sites for rubble, soil, tyres, gas bottles and vehicle parts – rise annually by the retail price index, which this year is 2.48%.

A SWP spokesman said: “This is one of the many benefits from the transformation of all Somerset waste services now underway, with improvements for customers and savings to help local councils fund other vital local services.”

For more information on garden waste collections, see:

SWP has the legal power under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to charge for garden waste collections, some other services and certain materials.

Somerset councils have all charged for collections since 2004/05, with the number of people using the service increasing each year since, reaching 51,240 subscriptions this year - around one in five homes.

The charge aims for full cost recovery on the “polluter pays” principle and to ensure that the service is not subsidised by those who take garden waste to a recycling site for free, compost it at home or do not have a garden.

About 42,000 tonnes of garden waste – 19,000 tonnes in kerbside collections, 23,000 tonnes via recycling sites – is composted in Somerset each year, turning “waste” into a valuable resource: the “Revive” soil conditioner sold at all recycling sites.