Aug 11 2015

Harrow’s £75 Brown Bin Tax – Now you have to OPT OUT of it!

harrow_council_logoHarrow Council’s £75 Brown Bin Tax seems to have taken a disturbing turn for the worse, if their latest leaflet (dropping through a letterbox near you) is anything to go by. Cast your mind back, and you’ll recall that there would be a chance to sign up for the £75 per year scheme. And that’s the important part: a chance to sign up.

Now, looking at the leaflet, it seems that residents will need to opt out of the scheme – and it seems very much like you’ll be enrolled, and billed £75 by default, unless you actively opt out. This looks like a complete U-turn on the council’s previous statement, which said, “Residents will need to register and pay for the year ahead by April 2016.” – no longer will you need to register FOR the scheme; you’ll have to opt out of it instead. And if you miss the deadline, and forget to opt out, you can probably forget any chance of getting your money back: “The collection service is a fixed charge of £75, this covers a year of collections and once paid you are not able to receive a refund.” says the Council.

20150814_opt_out_chargesThe £75 charge comes into effect in April 2016, unless you’re on Council Tax Support, in which case it’ll be £25 (and pensioners will no longer get the free or reduced-rate collection as originally promised). No indication yet as to whether this will be an amount added to your Council tax bill, or whether the council will collect this separately.

20150814_opt_out_charges_largeFAQs – outdated by now – can be found here. Thanks to @adviceNorm for the photo of the leaflet.


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  1. Someonewhocares

    Well in fact the other side of the leaflet states “(April 2016) If you’ve opted in, your new garden waste collection begins”

    So, bad grammar and abivalent at best!

  2. Someonewhocares

    According to this it is an ‘opt IN’ –


  3. Susan Hall

    I have always been led to believe that we have to ‘opt in’. I will get a proper answer, or at least I will try, today and let iharrow know. This entire scheme is a complete disaster. Labours Cllr Graham Henson clearly has not got to grips with his brief and us residents continue to suffer.

  4. Derek Miles

    What is happening to the orig brown bin if you opt out or will there be empty bins all over the borough

    1. Someonewhocares

      Good question Derek M. – but folks will probably still fill them up after April, regardless.

      Maybe the ‘opted out’ brown ones will be collected and melted down to turn into the Black bins (ie. they will *actually* be recycled)?

  5. Susan Hall

    I asked the question today ie will residents have to opt in or opt out and have received this answer “From April 2016 the brown bins will only be collected from those households that have signed up to the paid for service.” Therefore I can only assume that one has to opt in. I have also been told that
    “From October 2015 the brown bins will continue to be collected from everyone that currently has a brown bin and the frequency will change to a fortnightly collection. At the same time, the new and separate food waste collection will start on a weekly basis.”

    We will have to watch out that we don’t all get used to them being collected and the rules change to say we must ask for them not to be collected which of course would mean that we would have to opt out – more confusion

    1. Someonewhocares

      Interesting: And we will all also have to watch out that if anyone puts their brown bin inadvertently (after April) then they don’t get billed for £75?!

  6. Derek Miles


    1. Someonewhocares

      Then the Council will simply ‘refuse’ to empty them anyway as we have ‘contaminated’ them?

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