WARRINGTON Borough Council faces renewed pressure to introduce a direct debit payment system for garden waste collections to address a ‘discriminatory’ charge.

The service is set to return on March 3 and will cost residents £35 for the year if people sign up online, or £40 if they pay by phone or in person.

The £35 is £3 more than last year’s cost, with the £40 sum being £5 more than last year.

The matter was discussed during the recent organisational improvement and development policy committee meeting at the Town Hall.

Cllr Linda Dirir asked Gareth Hopkins, the council’s deputy director of corporate services, whether the Labour-run authority has managed to introduce a direct debit system for the garden waste collection service.

The Labour politician was told the council has not been able to do this yet but she emphasised that she thinks it is important for this to happen.

She said: “All of us pay our council tax by direct debit and all of us, once we start with the garden waste, probably want to carry on with it.

“It is such a nuisance having to do it every year and re-register and everything else.

“I would really like us to be able to sign up to it, on direct debit, and pay it that way for good – unless we actually decide not to do it, which would be very unusual.”

Mr Hopkins told her officers looked at the issue in December and confirmed they will be doing so again this year.

In February last year, council leader Cllr Russ Bowden committed to addressing the issue ‘in the coming year’.

But the failure to do so has been highlighted by Cllr Bob Barr, leader of the town’s Liberal Democrats.

He said: “It has not been brought in and the increase in the size of the penalty for not paying online, my group still believe is discriminatory.”

The council says it is looking at the development of an annual card payment option as part of its 2020 programme.

A spokesman added: “The cost of administering a direct debit payment scheme for green bins does not provide value for money for the council when considered against the current annual charge.

“It is hoped that this will be in place for the role out of the green bin subscription scheme in January 2021.”