GREEN WASTE: Council under attack over new collection charge

Screenshot of the petition against Horsham District Council's green waste collection charge
Screenshot of the petition against Horsham District Council's green waste collection charge

A petition against Horsham District Council’s green waste collection charge is gathering momentum and has nearly 450 signatures and counting.

After June 1, if people have not paid £29 and registered for the new collection charge, their brown topped bin will not be emptied. That is a decision that has been debated and agreed at full council some months ago, but the council is facing hundreds of people who are speaking up against the decision via a petition.

At the full council meeting on February 13 2013, Shelia Matthews (Ind, Henfield) asked to make an amendment to the 2013/14 budget to overturn December’s decision to introduce the charge.

She was advised that the decision made at the full council meeting of December 19, was binding. Out of the 44 district councillors, 35 were present at December’s meeting and all but two voted for the charge.

Malcolm Curnock (LDem, Broadbridge Heath) voted against and David Sheldon (LDem, Denne) abstained.

This week HDC cabinet member for the environment Andrew Baldwin told the County Times that about 500 people had signed up in just the first 48 hours of the scheme going live.

A petition must reach 1,000 signatures for it to be debated at a full council meeting and there are guidelines about who is classed as a valid signatory.

On the council’s website it says: “If a petition contains a minimum of 1,000 signatures of persons resident, working or studying within the District, the Council will debate it or, if it is a petition asking for a senior council officer to give evidence at the Scrutiny and Overview Committee about something for which they are responsible as part of their job, a minimum of 250 signatures is needed. Full details of the scheme are set out in Part 4J of the Council’s Constitution.

“We will always respond to your petition no matter how many or how few signatures you have collected.”

All the guidelines for a petition to be valid can be found on the council’s website here

For a petition to be valid they must include:

• a clear and concise statement of the subject of the petition

• a statement about what action the petitioners wish the Council to take

• the name, address (home or place of work/study if located within the District) and signature of any person supporting the petition