AN opposition group has said it is “very disappointed” after a challenge to Braintree Council’s garden waste charge plan was dismissed.

The Labour group on Braintree Council was the first to submit a request to ‘call in’ the cabinet’s decision to impose a charge for the collection of garden waste throughout the district.

A second request was also made by the Independent and Green Group.

The grounds for Labour’s call-in were for a “lack of consultation with residents” and “the fact the introduction of a charge was inconsistent with council policies on the climate crisis and recycling targets”.

The party also said the impact on the elderly and people with disabilities “were not given sufficient weight before the decision was made”.

The call-in was supported by all the other opposition groups on Braintree Council.

At the meeting of the scrutiny committee which discussed the call-in, cabinet members argued they had been forced to impose the charge because of the need to reduce the council’s expenditure in future years.

Labour claimed alternative ideas for reducing expenditure or increasing income were “dismissed without discussion”.

A spokesman for the party has said the group is “very disappointed”, but “will continue to challenge the Conservative administration”.

A statement said: “Unfortunately, the call-in was opposed by the Conservative members of the corporate scrutiny committee and a motion to reject the call-in was passed.

“Therefore, the charge for the collection of garden waste will now go ahead, despite widespread opposition among the district’s residents to the new charges.

“The Labour group is very disappointed at this outcome, and we will continue to challenge the Conservative administration to take the climate emergency more seriously.

“We will also press the cabinet to provide more support for the disposal of garden waste by the elderly, the disabled and those who are unable to afford the new charge.”

Conservative council environment and customer services boss Tom Cunningham previously said the £683,000 cost to deliver the current service is “no longer affordable or sustainable”.

“We are keen to maintain a garden waste collection service to those residents who wish to receive it, however the only way this can be achieved is to recover the cost of doing so,” he said.

The council will charge for the collection of garden waste from March 2024.

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