A THORNBURY gardener is seeing red after his green bin was not collected for a month.

Peter Mainstone, secretary of the Buckingham Parade Gardening Club, paid the new £36 annual fee for South Gloucestershire Council’s subscription service in March, well before the charges came into effect on April 1.

But his green bin, which he has jointly paid to be emptied by the council fortnightly with his neighbour, was left full on the first collection on Friday, April 4.

Mr Mainstone’s bin was also left unemptied on Good Friday (April 18) until his wife, who coincidentally was outside the house, asked refuse collectors to empty the vessel.

“For the second time we had the lorry coming up our road and leaving our bin, which we have paid to be emptied,” said Mr Mainstone. “Had it not been for my wife being out there it would have been left for another two weeks.

“It is a total shambles.”

Mr Mainstone said the number of green bins out for collection in Buckingham Parade had gone from 16 before the opt-in charges were introduced to just two.

“We cut our own grass frontages so we need to get rid of the grass,” he said. “The council says it has spent all this money on technology inside the lorries so they know which house has paid and which hasn’t but they are not equipped with anything at all.

“Their technology was a man walking in front of the lorry with a piece of paper in his hand.”

He added: “There has been a breakdown of information and it needs sorting out. It hasn’t been thought out and it is costing us tax payers’ money.”

Other incidents of bins not being emptied on the expected collection dates have been reported to The Gazette.

The complaints follow last week’s revelation that the new service, which the council says will save £1.2million a year, is costing £650,000 to implement including £110,000 for new ‘in cab technology’ for lorries.

The scheme has divided the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties on South Gloucestershire Council.

The Lib Dems support the drive heralding it as a success as 28,000 of the district’s 110,000 households have signed up to pay the charge, beating its target of 22,500.

Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh) said: “With other services under threat, it's great that the new garden waste service has already hit its target.

“It's important that we deliver a good service to the residents and any initial problems are overcome. Missed bins or long waits on the phone are unacceptable.

“The good news is that the same in-cab technology that tells the crews which houses have subscribed to the green waste service will also help cut missed bin problems."

But Cllr Ian Adams (Con, Siston and Warmley) said: “This latest £650,000 estimate includes the new technology to administer this stealth tax, collecting, storing and disposing unwanted green bins and writing off the costs of surplus bin lorries.

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

A petition signed by 4,000 against the charge, collected by Kingswood Tory MP Chris Skidmore, will be discussed by the authority at a meeting on June 4.