MICROCHIPS could be put into garden waste bins around Flintshire in 2020 to help create a more efficient collection service.

The Flintshire County Council Cabinet agreed to explore the feasibility of a “technology-based system” being implemented to monitor payments and notify waste collectors of locations of paid subscribers.

£30,000 of the funds raised over the 2018-19 financial year will be set aside to fund the new arrangement in preparation for rolling it out across to subscribers in Flintshire in 2020.

With 33,871 permits being sold in the first year, Councillor Carolyn Thomas said at the Cabinet meeting the figure exceeded expectations.

“The actual take-up marginally exceeded our financial target which means that we can look into technology-based systems to offer a more efficient method of registering a bin to a property.

“It will speed up the management and payment process and remove the need to issue stickers each year.

“This will (involve) installing a chip in to the bin, so when the drivers are going along, they will get a beep and know that it needs to be collected. It will save on admin costs and save having to send out 33,000 stickers which is very time consuming and heavy on resources.”

Councillor Thomas also added that the existing service, which currently offers fortnightly garden waste collections between March and November, will run for a further two weeks.

She adds: “To accommodate the request to deal with late leaf fall, the garden waste service will extend to the Christmas period.

“So that’ll be just increasing it another two weeks.”

Cabinet members have also agreed to retain the controversial £30 charge for the collection of garden waste in 2019 and the foreseeable future, with no reduction in rates for the elderly or those on benefits.

Flintshire initially approved the introduction of a garden waste service charge in January 2018 to help the council to balance its budget.

And despite being met with backlash from people living in the region, nearly half of Flintshire’s residents subscribed to the service to have their garden waste collected.

However, with the charges being retained for 2019 and subsequent years, people are unhappy once again.

Commenting on The Leader’s official Facebook page, Glenys Griffiths Glenysging said:

“We all pay far too much council tax. On a point of principle, why should we pay extra for garden rubbish?

“It won’t be long before we’re charged for the rest of the recycling if we’re not careful.”

Linda Fairclough, meanwhile, added: “They want to carry on not supporting the residents who are paying council tax, which they are talking about putting up by 8.5 per cent this year.

“They really do want to squeeze every penny they can out of the people of Flintshire.”

Councillor Chris Bithell, meanwhile, expressed a concern at the Cabinet meeting that the garden waste charge could lead to an increase in fly-tipping in the region.

Steve Jones, Chief Officer for StreetScene and Transportation, allayed those worries though.

He said: “There’s been no increase in fly tipping, and certainly no evidence of fly-tipping of garden waste.

“What we have found, which was a pleasant surprise, is that the amount of waste that went into HRC (Household Recycling Centre) sites went up, so people are making use of either the garden waste collection service or the HRC sites.”

The Cabinet also agreed to hand £200 fixed penalty notices to low-level fly tippers in an attempt to prevent possible offenders in the region.