Lib Dems take action over green bin payment difficulties

1 Feb 2024
Gloucester City Council had made it harder to use the pay by phone option – often favoured by elderly residents who do not want to pay online – for the annual £50 bin charge.

Liberal Democrat councillors in Gloucester have made the lives easier for residents wishing to pay their annual garden waste bin subscription.

Gloucester City Council had made it harder to use the pay by phone option – often favoured by elderly residents who do not want to pay online – for the annual £50 bin charge.

Residents had contacted Lib Dem councillors to complain they had encountered long delays in attempting to pay by phone.

They said they had struggled to speak to a real person – having to instead navigate an automated phone system – leading to concerns the city council was trying to force everyone who uses the garden waste collection service into paying online only.

Lib Dem councillors spoke to council officers who confirmed the option for paying by phone for the garden waste collection service will remain available.

Residents needing to pay by phone are advised to ring the council on the usual number of 01452 396 396, and when presented with the various options keep choosing ‘something else’ until they get to speak to an operative, who will take their payment.

Councillor Angela Conder, who represents Kingsholm & Wotton, said: “Many residents in Gloucester are elderly or vulnerable and cannot use a computer, so are simply unable to pay for things online.

“Others don’t have access to the internet. For those that can’t pay for services online, the option to pay over the phone needs to be kept available.

“I am glad that the intervention of Lib Dem councillors has helped here, but we should not have had to do this in the first place. It truly is a ‘vanishing council’.”

Barnwood Councillor Ashley Bowkett, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, added: “While it is right for the council in a tough financial climate to try to save money by encouraging those who can, to pay online, some residents will always need the option to pay by phone.

“We want as many people as possible to be able to take up the garden waste collection service, as it is good for the environment if this waste is recycled and not sent to landfill.

“We now need a dedicated ‘pay by phone’ option for residents ringing in, so that they don’t get confused by the process of constantly choosing ‘something else’ until they get to speak to someone.”

The fortnightly household garden waste collection service costs £50 a year or £29 a year for people in receipt of certain benefits.