A top councillor has played down concerns a £5 increase on Bexley garden bin collections would increase fly-tipping.

As Bexley Council looks to balance its books ahead of a £8m funding gap, one proposal has been tabled to increase bin collection charges on residential garden waste.

The service currently costs £33 for the first year – but officers say a £5 increase on that could earn the council an extra £120,000 a year.

Cllr Stefano Borella pressed the cabinet member, Peter Craske, on whether upping the charge would lead to more fly-tipping and less recycling.

MORE - Bexley Council: £9m savings must be found to fill budget gap

Cllr Borella said: “Regarding the £5 increase per bin – when this was introduced in 2015-16 there was a three per cent decrease in recycling. What impact could this have on our recycling rate?

“Between 2014-18 fly-tipping doubled – has this been factored into the costs saved?

“The roll-out of this scheme initially was not the council’s finest hour. There will have to be communications to residents.”

Yesterday it was revealed that Bexley was once again topping London’s ranks for recycling.

Cllr Craske said despite similar fears when the cost was first introduced, it had proved a big success.

He said: “We were told when this was first introduced that this would lead to a great increase in fly-tipping. I thought that was a big insult to residents in our borough, to assume residents would just chuck their waste out.

“In fact we have the most successful garden waste scheme in London, over 52 per cent of households eligible have signed up and it has generated income we never had before.

“Fly-tipping is very low compared to boroughs around us, and even with a £5 increase we will still be lower than other boroughs. Lewisham for example charges £60 a year.

“It’s a scheme that people choose to sign up to, I am sure some people will drop out if the cost is increased but that’s to be expected.”