Changes to bulky waste collection charges in Renfrewshire have been branded a “step too far” as residents contend with the financial strain of the cost-of-living crisis.

New fees for the service are set to become effective from April in a move that has prompted concern among some elected members.

The council currently charges £37.15 for a domestic uplift of one to 20 items and £37.15 for each domestic white good. There is also a ground clearance charge of £88 for more than 20 items.

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However, citing “significant rises in vehicle operating and waste disposal costs”, the local authority wants to introduce a revised pricing structure.

The proposal irked Councillor Chris Gilmour, Labour group environment spokesperson, at last Wednesday’s infrastructure, land and environment policy board.

“I think this cost increase is probably just a step too far,” the representative for Johnstone North and the surrounding villages said.

“If any charges are to be increased, they should be in very small increments in this period of financial toil that we’re living in.”

Under the revised structure, up to five items or bags will cost £40, six to 10 items or bags £70, and 11 to 20 items or bags £120. This excludes white goods and upholstered seating. White goods will cost £45 per item and every item or bag over 20 items will cost £8 each.

Councillor Gilmour called for the administration to “keep the status quo” with the bulky waste charges until a review could take place.

He added: “I think it’s a good service but if we increase the charges too much, people will simply dump the rubbish…we must take cognisance of the fact there’s a cost-of-living crisis and structure our prices accordingly.”

Councillor Gilmour also sought clarification on the ground clearance charge, asking: “Are you saying now that it would be £120 plus £8 for every item? Is that an additional cost on top?”

Gavin Hutton, the council’s head of operations and infrastructure, responded: “Yes, so the ground clearance cost was £88 before. It created a huge amount of confusion between users and the service. Some people were wanting a whole back garden cleared for £88, which just wasn’t realistic.

“We needed some clarity in how we did that, so this system is much more clearer.

“You can have up to 20 items for £120, anything above that is £8 and that’s it. There’s no labour charge, no vehicle charge or nothing like that.”

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The SNP’s Councillor Michelle Campbell, the board convener, confirmed she would not accept Councillor Gilmour’s plea at the meeting.

“I do respect the comments and the reason behind what you’re saying,” the Erskine and Inchinnan representative said.

“This has been given good thought by the administration. Nobody wants to put in fees, nobody wants to increase things.

“However, there are increased costings attached to things that has went in line with the scene that we’re seeing on everything at the moment.”

She added that “action” was needed to protect the council’s ability to provide such services.

A £25 charge will also be introduced for bin exchanges. This applies to all exchanges except for requests for larger blue or green bins in support of increased recycling and where there is an exemption from payment.

Councillor Carolann Davidson, Labour representative for Paisley East and Central, asked what would happen if bins are broken by a lorry during the collection process.

Mr Hutton responded: “If your bin’s broken by the bin lorry we’ll still replace that for free.”

The new charges passed after nine voted in favour and eight against.