THE leader of Cheshire East Council insists a controversial new wheelie bin charge is necessary to maintain the borough’s ‘excellent waste and recycling services’.

From this month, residents will pay £30 for a new or replacement 240-litre bin, or £25 for a smaller 140-litre bin – although the first bin to go missing or be stolen in three years will be replaced free of charge, as well as bins damaged during collection.

The proposal proved unpopular during consultation – when just 34 per cent of the 1,895 residents that took part agreed with it – leading scrutiny committee members to call for a U-turn on the scheme in June.

But Cllr Rachel Bailey insists the charge must be introduced – and is better value for money than what other councils charge for new wheelie bins.

“The charges are necessary to continue providing the excellent waste and recycling services residents receive across the borough,” Cllr Bailey said.

“I can fully understand that some residents may not be happy, but due to increased budget constraints [the charges] are unfortunately necessary.

“However, I believe that we do provide value for money at CEC and charges here are lower than other authorities. For instance, Preston City Council charges £35 for a new bin, with a further £15.40 for delivery.

“The new policy will have the additional benefit of encouraging residents to take greater responsibility for their bins and reduce demand for replacements in the future.”

CEC says it spent £300,000 on supplying bins, and a further £64,000 for the delivery and administration of bins in 2017-18.

Labour members had requested that the decision to charge for new and replacement wheelie bins was ‘called in’ for more scrutiny – but this was rejected by CEC’s monitoring officer.

Cllr Suzanne Brookfield, Labour member for Crewe East, said: “So when a hard-up family’s wheelie bin is stolen or damaged what choices will they make, between finding the children’s dinner money or paying CEC for a new bin?

“I know what most families will opt to do, and the result is likely to be more fly-tipping.”