HIGHLAND Council has surpassed its target for people paying for the controversial brown bin service, despite a severe backlash against the charge.
The extended deadline to opt in to the service which will be paid from the beginning of July passed last Friday with 24,030 households stumping up.
At £30 per bin, the charge will raise £754,800 for the local authority, smashing through the £660,000 target set during budget negotiations in February when councillors had to plug a £20 million black hole. Some households have ordered more than one bin.
Councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of the local authority’s new Places Committee, which has replaced community services, said he was confident the target would be met, despite a number of angry householders saying they would boycott the service in protest against the charge.
“This was one of the savings we were more positive about because it was giving people a choice,” he said.
“They have the option of paying if they want but nobody was being forced to.
“We knew from research and anecdotal evidence that a lot of people were willing to pay the £30.”
The service begins on July 3 and people who wanted the service have been asked to order a sticker which will be put on to bins to prove the controversial charge has been paid.
The deadline was extended for one week after people experienced problems paying online due to an IT issue and could not get through by phone after the council was swamped with calls.
Householders can still apply to receive the brown bin service after the June 9 deadline, but the council cannot guarantee the permit stickers will be delivered in time for their first collection in July.
It takes around two weeks for the processing of payments, production and the mailing of the bin permit stickers to customers.
And Cllr Henderson said as the council has raised more than the initial target his committee can now consider providing the service to more areas of the Highlands.
“The number is growing so that will give us the opportunity to look at the possibility of rolling it out to areas who don’t currently receive the service.”
William Gilfillan, HC director of community services said: “The figure is now above and beyond the savings target which is great news.
“We are still getting people signing up but it has slowed down.
“Anyone who signs up now will be given their stickers in about a fortnight. They may not make the first collection but their bin will be emptied on the next collection after that."