CAMPAIGNERS fighting against a green ‘bin tax’ in South Gloucestershire are outraged at spiralling costs of implementing the new opt-in service.

The cost of bringing in a controversial £36 annual subscription service for residents' green bins to be emptied fortnightly is now £650,000, intensifying protestors’ fight for the scheme to be scrapped.

Cllr Ian Adams (Con, Siston and Warmley) said the costs to the council were ‘completely avoidable’.

He added: “You couldn't make it up - this new bin tax is costing money, rather than saving it.

“It's not too late to axe this bin tax and actually save local residents' money in the process."

The £649,000 estimated cost of implementing the scheme includes £111,000 for new ‘in cab technology’ in SITA bin lorries so drivers know which households are paying the tax.

A further £214,000 will be spent on writing off the cost of unwanted lorries, according to figures released by the council’s waste department.

But the largest amount will be spent on collecting (£114,000), storing (£140,000) and disposing of (£70,000) unwanted green bins.

Derek Parry, of Combermere in Thornbury, had complained that unwanted bins would not be collected until October.

He said: “This makes me even more wary over why they have done a U-turn on recycling. A lot of people I have spoken to say the whole thing is a backward step, especially when they only introduced the dual twin bin system in 2004”.

He added: “There must be other councils looking for green bins so why not give ours to them and save on the storage costs?”

The cost of the service has risen from an estimated £560,000 to £620,000 last September.

Boyd Valley Conservative councillors Steve Reade and Ben Stokes said: "Households will be horrified to know that at a time when money is tight this flawed bin tax is costing them a whopping £650,000 to put in place.

“So not only will this damaging policy decrease recycling rates, increase fly tipping and worsen the cost of living, but it isn't even raising any money and is actually costing money to put in place."

But the council said the costs would be cancelled out by the savings, expected to be £1.2million a year, of the scheme and the take-up rate of 28,000 meant costs may be less than originally estimated.

A spokesman said: "With the changes now operational, we are confident that the implementation costs will be consistent with our original estimates and may in fact prove to be lower once we begin the process of collecting unwanted green bins this October.

"The estimates also include a one-off cost for the disposal of unneeded waste collection vehicles and this cost could also be reduced significantly if these vehicles are reused elsewhere within SITA’s fleet."

A petition signed by 4,000 people against the charge has been handed to the council and will be discussed at a communities committee meeting on June 4.