A SO-CALLED ‘garden tax’ could be introduced to homes across Allerdale.

The move, revealed as part of the district council’s budget consultation for 20/21, could see householders charged £35 to £40 per year for garden waste collections.

The authority said that falling Government contributions mean it is forced to reduce its spending or find new sources of income.

However Ian Scott, 82, of Maryport, said the proposal was “scandalous.”

“We already pay our rates, which pay for services I never use,” he said. “I pay for the library and I haven’t been in there for 10 years, and for schools when I don’t have young children.”

A similar proposal by Carlisle City Council two years ago was abandoned after a public outcry over what was dubbed the ‘garden tax’.

Mr Scott has a large garden and believes he should not pay extra for his garden waste.

He added: “We pay more and more every year for less and less.”

And Sarah Jameson, 70, of Flimby, also disagrees with the proposal: “It’s appalling: the only time we use our garden bin is when we prune our tree. so it doesn’t become a hazard for the neighbours or the power lines.

“Our yard is concreted so we also use the bin when we sweep up the leaves in autumn.We maybe put our garden bin out twice a year, yet they want to charge us the same as people who put it out every fortnight.”

Last summer Allerdale council’s bin collections plunged into chaos after a new contract was agreed with waste contractor FCC.

In April the authority plans to bring the service in-house.

An Allerdale council spokesman said: “There is no statutory requirement for us to pick up garden waste. If introduced, this would not be a compulsory charge. It would be up to residents to decide if they wanted to take advantage of the service.

“The collection of garden waste incurs significant costs and by introducing a charge it would mean that this service would be paid for by the customers who benefit from it.

“If charging for green waste is introduced in the future, you will not be charged if you do not sign up for the collections. You would, however, need to look at properly disposing of your waste, perhaps by composting or by taking it to a household waste recycling centre.

"The council would like to stress that this is a consultation where we are asking for feedback from our residents, businesses and other interested parties about a number of issues and no final decisions have been made."

The consultation is open until January 20 and can be found at allerdale.gov.uk/consultation