Controversial plans to bring in a garden waste bin collection charge will be brought in, from next year.
The move – to introduce the £30 annual fee for the service was agreed, yesterday, at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s cabinet.
The decision came despite an overwhelming majority of Gazette readers - 90 per cent - opposing the charge.
From April, those wanting their green waste collected will have to pay the fee.
The service has been offered for free for the last decade - from April until October on a fortnightly basis
The decicion came during a week that the collection service was disrupted by staffing and vehicle issues but a new fleet of collection wagons is to be drafted in from next year for the paid-for service.
Coun Joan Atkinson said: “It’s great that thousands of people took advantage of the current scheme and had that free for the past 10 years.
“But can we have some reassurance that collections will be made as in light of recent events with the fleet collections have not been made.”
“The fleet we have is quite old. I have been talking to officers looking to replace the bin wagons so they won’t break down.”
There was also a suggestion from Coun Iain Malcolm that there would be nothing to stop neighbours from sharing a green bin.
Coun Smith added: “There is nothing stopping this at all.”
Discounts will also be made to those making payments before December 31.
Decision-makers at South Tyneside Council say the move will make the service cost neutral, claw back £500,000 of savings - and prevent other front line services from losing out as the authority contends with major Government cuts.
Opposition councillor Lee Hughes, Independent Putting People First, says most residents he has spoken to say they will refuse to pay the charge instead reverting back to using their household bin.
He said: “I have spoken to a lot of the residents within my ward and they all say the same - they’re not paying it.
“If people are refusing to take part in the scheme I’m not sure how they are going to make the figure they are hoping for?”
The news has led to people taking to social media in anger at the charge with some calling the fee “disgusting” and others calling for their green bins to be taken away.
Information on the new charges is set to be sent to households.