Brown bins charge: Welwyn Hatfield Council blasted over ‘get out of jail free clause’

PUBLISHED: 16:43 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:58 13 March 2017

The brown bin charges will come into force next month

The brown bin charges will come into force next month

Archant

Welwyn Hatfield Council has been slammed for including a “get out of jail free clause” in its brown bin collection service’s terms and conditions.

Controversial garden waste fees will kick in from April, but it has emerged that the council can cancel or suspend the service at its own discretion – but would not have to refund residents.

According to the conditions there would also be no rebate for any missed collections, and damaged or lost bins would be charged to the householder.

Resident Jon Westoby said: “These terms seem to have been cobbled together with very little thought.

“Do the rate-payers really have to put up with this amateurish kind of governance that leaves all the benefits on the side of the contractor?

Former borough councillor Sandra KyriakidesFormer borough councillor Sandra Kyriakides

“The terms confer no duties on the council or its servants, only penalties to the user for non-compliance.”

A Welwyn resident added: “They have written a get out of jail free clause into its terms and conditions.

“If it wanted to it could suspend or cancel collections at its discretion and no rebates will be given.

“This smacks of an unfair contract to me.”

More than 8,000 people have already agreed to pay the £35 annual fee.

In another controversial clause, residents who move to another house in the borough would have to pay for the scheme again.

Former borough councillor Sandra Kyriakides said: “I bet Welwyn Hatfield Council wouldn’t sign a contract like that with Serco or any other service provider – so why does it expect us to put up with it?

“We are most certainly taken for idiots and I hope we come to our senses when certain councillors come up for re-election.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Residents subscribing to garden waste collections will continue to receive the same service they value and are used to from April 1.

“This includes suspending collections over Christmas and in cases of severe weather.

“The condition of wheelie bins remains the responsibility of householders, as it has been since they were introduced throughout the borough.

“The bin is also registered to an address on our database, which is why a subscription cannot be transferred to another property.

“This means the service is easier to administer, keeping the cost down for everyone.”


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