A gardener has accused Harrow Council of being inflexible over its green waste collections after he was forced to pay for a year’s subscription despite only needing it for a few months.

Rahul Shah had to stump up £75 despite knowing he is unlikely to make full use of the service.

And he believes he is being punished because of the council’s unwillingness to offer a variety of options as per previous years.

He suggested this was simply to make things easier for staff and raise council revenue, rather than take residents’ best interests into account.

The council changed its brown bin options this year to encourage people to sign up for a full year’s service, which runs from April to March next year.

There was an option to sign up for the summer service – running from April to the end of October – but the deadline for this was set at March 7 and is no longer available.

Mr Shah believes it is unfair to limit people’s options so strictly, particularly given that Harrow has some of the highest green waste collection charges in London.

He also took issue with the fact that those signing up now, given the disruption and certainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, still have no other option but to pay the full price.

He suggested the council offer a pro-rata system so those who chose not to sign up over the past few months are not punished.

“Many people are already struggling because of Covid – residents are losing their jobs, or at risk of redundancy,” he said.

“In times like these, the council should be in support of their residents, rather than lumber them with more excessive charges.”

The council announced it would offer refunds to those who had already signed up to the service but had not had their garden waste collected due to Covid-19-associated disruption.

Its garden waste team explained the decision to simplify the collection service was to make it more viable after issues with budgeting.

It added these changes were put forward through an “active marketing campaign” and were noted online in the service’s terms and conditions and frequently asked questions sections.