AN INCREASE to the charge for garden waste collection in Flintshire is set to become a reality.

Members of Flintshire County Council’s corporate resources scrutiny committee considered the decision at a special meeting held in Mold’s County Hall to progress with the plan.

Residents living in Flintshire currently pay an annual fee of £30 to have their brown waste bins collected after the local authority stopped offering the service free of charge in April 2018.

However, cabinet members recently approved a decision which will now see this amount rise to £35 from spring next year - or £32 for those who pay this charge early or online.

For much of the meeting, differences of interpretation around the figures relating to the number of brown bins in circulation from official council figures were discussed after confusion arose when calculating the number of households that opted for additional bins.

The figure of 33,781 issued had been clarified and Cllr Roberts, assisted by council officers who completed an audit of the figures, and said that an effort will be made to ensure there is more clarity in the future.

Cllr Chris Dolphin, chairman of audit committee, described the additional charge as 'unfair' and 'unjustified' and calls for the current service to undergo serious improvement.

He said: "The deal that is on the table for our customers, the people of Flintshire, at the moment is not good enough and needs to be improved. There are fundamental flaws with the brown bin service and there continues to be so. Furthermore, where is the surplus being spent?"

The Leader previously reported from past meetings that the changes were needed to meet the rising cost of providing the service and could net the authority an extra £130,000, according to council officers.

The leader of the council, Cllr Ian Roberts, responded by saying that the optional service was ‘good value for money’ and worked out at about £1.30 per bin collection over the calendar year.

He said: "I personally use the service and it is, in my opinion, very good value for money. To have this convenient receptacle at the gate of your garden and to not having to bother with loading your car up with bundles of grass or other garden waste and take these to one of the free-to-use waste facilities - of which Flintshire has five. You may also avoid spending hours hoovering up what comes out of any split bags."