RESIDENTS of a borough with gardens face the imposition of a £35 a year charge to have their 'green waste collected' from March next year.

Rossendale Council is considering the new fee to save £130,000 annually.

If the scheme goes ahead, householders will face a charge of £35 for the first brown bin and £5 a year for each additional one.

It will be debated at Rossendale's full council meeting on Wednesday next week.

If approved it will be reviewed after a year.

The recommendation to charge for collections comes after a cross party working group examined the service.

It is part of an continuing package of measures to deal with cuts to the council’s funding from the government.

Cllr Jackie Oakes, Rossendale's portfolio holder for operations, also blamed Lancashire County Council's decision to reduce its ‘cost share’ payment to the borough, which supports recycling services, by more than £500,000.

The borough earlier this month agreed a loan and rate relief package of £45,300 to support Ski Rossendale which council leader Alyson Barnes said would be funded from a £64,000 underspend in grants to Rossendale Leisure Trust.

Green waste collection is not a legal obligation, costs the council £130,000 a year and is so popular the council has had to put in extra resources to maintain it.

Cllr Oakes said: “This is certainly not something we would want to do in normal circumstances but the reduction of funding from both Lancashire County Council and the government leaves us with little choice.

“It will be a difficult decision and one we will not take lightly.

“I would like to stress though that Rossendale Council is not doing this to make money.

"It is simply the only way we can keep it sustainable in the future and deliver an efficient service.”

Cllr Tony Haworth, a Tory member of the working group who represents Helmshore, said: "I fear this is unfortunate but inevitable.

"Savings have to be made, especially after the LCC decision, and this is a non-statutory service.

"I just hope the take-up is good and we don't have people fly-tipping their garden waste where it should not be dumped."

County Cllr Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "The district councils were informed four years ago that the cost-sharing agreements would come to an end in 2018."