KNUTSFORD residents will have an empty green bin this week after Cheshire East Council announced its green waste collection service would resume after the winter break.
Residents will be able to put out their green bins on their usual collection days to have their green garden waste removed – free of charge for the first bin and with no increase to the £45-per-year fee for each extra bin.
The move caused outrage among homeowners when it announced it was postponing the collections over the winter period to save money.
The authority said its service is set to remain free, although a third of councils already charge for collecting green waste – with many others looking to do so.
As well as saving the council an expected £1m over four years, the temporary suspension over the winter months will help reduce the council’s carbon footprint, with fewer collection vehicles on the roads over the winter.
Clr David Topping, Cheshire East’s Cabinet member for environment, said: “The green waste collection is popular with residents but we took the decision to suspend collections through the winter because, as fewer people tend their gardens, there is simply less green waste to collect.
“Rather than incur the cost of sending out collection vehicles, which returned half-empty, the savings we’ve made will help us to preserve a free collection at a time when many other councils have brought in charges.
“We recognise that the dates for the suspension caused some problems, as the unseasonably mild weather meant that the leaves fell from the trees later than expected.
“As a result, a full review of the timings of the suspension will be made before we announce the dates for winter 2014/15, taking into account the views we have received from residents.”