CUTS to education services might be considered if garden waste charges are not adopted.

That was the response of Cllr Carolyn Thomas, Flintshire Council cabinet member for Streetscene and environment, after the decision to implement the £30 annual tariff was called in by opposition members.

Flintshire Council’s environment overview and scrutiny committee will discuss the cabinet’s decision to charge for garden waste collections after five councillors ‘called in’ the decision taken by cabinet last month.

Cllrs Mike Peers, Richard Jones, Dave Mackie, Dennis Hutchinson and Clive Carver co-signed the letter calling for December’s decision to be looked at again.

The quintet cited five reasons including incorrect alignment with Welsh Government policy and incorrect council minutes.

The plans, unanimously approved by Flintshire Council’s leadership on December 19, will go before the scrutiny committee again on Tuesday.

Cllr Thomas said the adoption of a £30 annual charge for discretionary brown bin collections was not something Flintshire Council wanted to do but needed to address its budget challenges.

She said: “Within Streetscene, we’ve saved and done everything we can within the service area.

“There’s nowhere else to go and this is a non-statutory service.

“It’s something we still don’t want to introduce and we are trying to make it as easy as possible for people. We had to introduce it quickly because of the budget but we’re hoping next year people can pay it with their council tax over 10 months.”

The hotly debated scheme was set to go live from March and based on an assumption that 40 per cent of households sign up to Flintshire Council’s revised tariffed collection scheme, up to £958,000 could be made by the authority.

It is thought £828,000 could be brought in through implementing an annual charge of £30 per brown bin of garden waste.

Cllr Thomas repeated her position from December’s cabinet meeting that the new charge was vital to protect other areas.

She said: “Otherwise, we’re looking at everything and we’ve got to protect education and social services.

“Other areas would get hit more and we’ve got to look after them.

“We have to set a budget and we’d have to look at cuts in education which we don’t want to do. It’s not nice but it’s one of the more palatable options.”

During the meeting, committee members will decide whether they are happy with the plans to continue or not, or whether to refer the matter back to full council or the cabinet to amend the decision.

The call-in will be held on Tuesday at County Hall, Mold.

l Cllr Richard Jones, one of the five instigators of the call-in, said when the proposals were mooted the council should have given residents guidance on composting their own green waste as an alternative to collection, in line with Welsh Government guidance on reducing the council’s carbon footprint.

He said: “As the opposition we don’t have to go against everything this administration does but when the Welsh Government issues a document about what you are expected to do, you should
follow it.

“They should be issuing people with advice on home composting and mention it is about reducing the carbon footprint, but really this is just about money-making.”