Southwark residents will pay a £30 annual charge for garden waste collections from June.
The new yearly ’subscription’, to be introduced on June 1, will cost £25 until March 31 2020, and £30 a year thereafter. The charge will be the lowest in the capital for the service, said council bosses.
While collections will still be weekly the collection day may change, warn council officials, to maintain “route efficiency.”
A letter sent to Southwark’s 51,000 kerbside properties states: “We have seen that over time not everyone who receives it is making use of the garden waste service.
“We believe that it is fairer that only those using the service contribute towards the running of it.”
Garden waste collections will still be taken at the borough’s Household Reuse and Recycling Centre in Devon Street, Peckham, for those able to travel to the centre.
However, Cllr Graham Neale, environment spokesperson for the opposition Lib Dems, said he feared the move would mean more rubbish being dumped on the streets.
“Few people are likely to pay the £30, so garden cuttings will end up in their dustbins,” he said.
“It seems like Southwark Labour simply want to burn all our rubbish, despite the emissions that causes. I fear we will end up with more stuff dumped on streets and our housing estates.”
Cllr Richard Livingstone, who holds the environment portfolio for Southwark Council said: “Sadly, the scale of cuts in government funding to the council and the need to protect the essential services that we deliver across the borough, mean that it has become necessary to find new ways of covering this cost.
“As the majority of homes in our borough do not have their own garden, we believe that it is fairer that those using the service contribute towards the running of it.”
Nationally, the average charge for garden waste collections was over £42, and a number of London boroughs charge over £50, he added.
The new charge has split residents, with some blasting it as a “rip-off” – but others saying central government cuts were to blame.
“Looks like another rip off from the council after a council tax rise, why don’t they just bleed us dry once and for all,” said one. However, another said: “Don’t be angry at the council, be angry at the government who have cut council funding.”