A FURIOUS man has hit out at Renfrewshire Council after being told he'll need to buy a garden waste permit to dispose of leaves that "aren't his".

John McDonald believes that he shouldn’t need to pay the £40 fee to continue using his brown bin to clear up hundreds of leaves that get blown into his garden from a nearby forest.

The 71-year-old, from Houston, claims that he fills around “six brown bin loads” of leaves each year, which is “difficult” to deal with.

The Gazette:

However, due to the new permit scheme, John will need to pay to keep using his brown bin.

John told The Gazette: “My issue is leaves that are coming from a forest roundabout me are filling my garden every winter.

“It’s such a quantity that I find difficult to deal with and when the brown bin/garden waste permit came in, I thought – what can I do about this?

“So, I wrote to the council asking if I could get help removing these leaves. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular like getting my garden waste removed – it was just to get rid of the leaves.

The Gazette: The forest behind John's homeThe forest behind John's home (Image: Colin Mearns Herald & Times Group)

“Each year, it’s about six full brown bin loads, fully compacted. I actually have to get in the bin and jump on it to get the leaves down."

The Houston man who has lived in his house for 40 years, claims that the council don’t define what “garden waste” is.

He added: “These leaves are from a forest out with my garden – they aren’t my garden waste.

The Gazette:

“I’m not asking for my garden waste to be uplifted, I’m asking for these leaves from the forest to be uplifted and whether they could issue some sort of special permit for that.”

The new permit, which has been introduced by the local authority means residents will have to pay £40 every year to have their garden waste collected.

According to the council, garden waste includes grass cuttings, leaves, twigs, small branches, hedge clippings, flowers, and plants.

The Gazette:

John said he contacted the council to raise his concerns about the fee and his situation.

However, he claims no alternatives or recommendations were made by the local authority.

He said: “I got a very shortcut answer – [they said] the situation I described does not meet the exceptions.

“The exceptions that are listed are virtually nothing. The thing hasn’t been properly thought through, it’s just been rushed through.”

As he claims the leaves aren’t his garden waste, John said he doesn’t believe he should need to pay the permit but he’s “willing” to continue getting rid of them from his garden.

The Gazette: John next to his brown bin with his leaf blower

John said: “I would have thought if they're issuing permits, they could issue a special permit saying, ‘Food waste only, exception leaves only’.

“They could just do something like that.”

Outlining the exceptions, according to the council’s website, if you receive a full or service mental impairment council tax reduction, you can receive one free permit.

The frustrated man continued to say: “I think it’s a freak situation.

“If they came up and looked at my front garden they would think – ‘How can that be a problem here?’

“It seems to be due to the way the wind flows around the buildings here. Everything gets deposited in my front garden which is a very small garden.

“It’s a freak of nature that I have to deal with.

“But I just think what I’ve got is an impossible situation unless I pay £40 which I’m not prepared to do because I wasn’t consulted about it – I was just ordered to.”

The Gazette:

He added: “I’d say they have made a gross error in their terminology. I’d say they should look up the legal description of garden waste and they’ll find it includes waste from a garden and the garden only – not waste from trees miles away or wherever they are.”

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “From July 10, residents who wish to use their brown bin to recycle garden waste, such as leaves or grass cuttings, are required to purchase a permit to continue to receive a collection.

“Residents can report overgrown trees of hedges on council land to 0300 300 0300.”