SHEFFIELD Council is to charge £18 to collect householders’ Christmas trees for recycling - a service which used to be free.
The authority says collections cost £30,000 a year and it has ‘no choice’ - as the funding represents the wages of a teaching assistant, nurse or care worker.
People can instead take their real trees to household waste recycling centres, or to one of six other sites being set up around the city for recycling.
But residents fear the hefty charge will actually lead to an increase in fly-tipping.
Linda Daniels, of Brushes TARA at Firth Park, said: “People are not going to pay £18. They will just dump their trees on the nearest bit of green space.”
Doreen Walton, of Hackenthorpe and Birley Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “It’s one thing after another with services being erased time after time.
“What do we pay our council tax for? Admittedly the council is in a difficult position and it is a dilemma.
“But I think the charge will lead to more fly-tipping.”
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Lib Dem opposition leader, said: “Labour are being Scrooges. This is something the council has always provided, and the charge will increase fly-tipping.”
But Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment, said: “It’s the Tory-led Government who are the Scrooges, forcing us to make these cuts.”
He said the £18 charge is for up to three items and that several households could pay one fee to have their trees collected.
Janet Andrews, of Endcliffe Corner Community Association, agreed. “I do think the cost is prohibitively high but I don’t see what else the council can do.
“When you have to make cuts this to me seems one of the least harmful things. A lot of people leave the trees in their gardens to rot.”