Enfield’s council leader has defended a move to charge residents for garden waste collections amid concerns it will not be cost-effective.

Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan said the £65-a-year charge for garden waste will save money and revealed a support scheme could be set up for those who struggle to pay.

At a meeting of Enfield Lock ward forum on Tuesday (October 22), one resident claimed the charge was “extortionate”.

She told the meeting: “£65 is a lot of money. A lot of people are not going to sign up, but vehicles are still going to have to come out. I think in the long run it is not going to be cost-effective.

“You have had to buy all these bins as well, and I’ve still got my original green bins from years ago.

“I think if you had made the £65 a lesser charge, like some of the neighbouring boroughs, you might have got more response for signing up.”

Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan, who attended the forum, said that in an ideal world, the council would not have to bring in the charge.

Cllr Caliskan said: “It is absolutely going to save money – something like £2.5 million a year, even with the investment. It has all been costed.

“Our target to make it cost-effective needs something like a 25 per cent sign-up rate. As it stands, we have 20 per cent, and we still have a year to go.”

The council leader said she accepted £65 a year was a lot of money for some households.

She added: “Going forward, we have said we will set up a hardship fund, so anyone who can’t pay that £65 can apply to it.”

Cllr Caliskan said the charge had been introduced because the Government had stopped paying the council a grant that was used to fund waste collections.

The resident said the charge seemed “extortionate” for a service that will run every two weeks, with less garden waste to collect in the winter months.

Cllr Caliskan said the council had looked at seasonal options, but it did not make much difference in terms of savings, and it was easier to bring in a fortnightly service.

She said: “[The charge] is less than other boroughs – and some do not collect green waste.

“We are an outer London borough, so I understand green waste is how we keep the area clean.”

The council leader told the forum she did not think there would be an increase in fly-tipping as a result of the charge.

Neighbouring Haringey Council recently faced calls from the Liberal Democrat Group to drop its £75-a-year charge for garden waste collections after it raised £200,000 less than expected.

Cllr Seema Chandwani (Labour), Haringey’s cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said the garden waste service was being reviewed and the council would respond to its findings.