Residents will have to shell out £70 a year to have their green bins picked up in a move that was dubbed a “garden tax” by opposition councillors.

An annual fee for garden waste collections was approved by Barnet Council’s environment committee on Monday (January 20) despite strong opposition from members of the public who were consulted on the plan.

Council bosses say the green waste charge could save £800,000 a year and encourage more people to compost their waste at home.

But more than 80 per cent of the 6,500 people who responded to a consultation said they were opposed to the move, with only 12.3 per cent in favour.

At the committee meeting, Labour councillors dubbed the charge “a Tory garden tax” and warned it would lead to a rise in fly-tipping.

Labour environment spokesman Cllr Alan Schneiderman (Woodhouse) said: “There is no point in asking people what they think and then simply ignoring them.

“This is not a marginal consultation where the results were finely balanced – it is overwhelmingly against doing this.

“You said you wanted to hear what people said. They have now spoken, and they do not agree with this.

“We call it a garden tax because it is simply a new tax on Barnet residents and will lead to more fly-tipping as people try and avoid the charge.”

Although Barnet’s Labour group is against the charge, similar levies have been introduced in Labour-run councils such as Enfield and Haringey.

And with a £70 million budget gap over the next five years, Barnet Council is under significant pressure to cut costs and boost income.

Cllr Peter Zinkin (Conservative, Childs Hill), said a review carried out with the Mayor of London showed charging for green waste would support a recycling plan.

He added: “Barnet is not at the front end of the councils who are engaging in this process. A total of 217 councils have already started to charge for green waste. Enfield only agreed to do so very recently.

“The idea that we are doing something that is difficult or unusual, or has insuperable problems, just cannot be right.”

But in response to a public question, the council appeared to admit Barnet would have the highest minimum charge per binload out of seven north London boroughs

Cllr Geof Cooke (Labour, Woodhouse) said: “It is clear this is another example of austerity not being over and being applied against Barnet residents year by year, including in the coming financial year.

“What is being said on a national level about austerity being over is clearly not the case.”

Labour committee members voted against the plans, but the charge was approved after all the Conservative councillors voted in favour.

The £70-a-year fee, which is for each household’s first bin, will be introduced from April 6 this year. Households will pay £50 a year for each extra garden waste bin.