ANYONE who wants to take advantage of Test Valley Borough Council's offer to collect leaves which have fallen into their garden from street trees must contact the council first to make arrangements for collection.

Where requested during November and into December the council will collect leaves which are in ordinary black bags and left by the side of household waste bins.

Residents with leaf problems should ring the council first. However, Mr Graham Hawkins of Nelson Walk, Admirals Way, Andover, was surprised to find the first of six black bags he had put out next to ordinary household waste had not been collected.

"When I rang the council I was absolutely astonished to find that they were going to send someone round to my house to validate that the leaves are coming from trees outside my home," he said. "They will then phone back, once they've got authorisation, to arrange for the collection."

A spokeswoman for Test Valley Borough Council said the council already knew where a lot of leaves had been causing problems.

"But where we are not sure we will look at a particular area to make an assessment," she added.

If the council accepts that street trees are causing a problem with leaves in people's gardens they will act on requests to collect them.

These particular leaves will not be composted in the council's green waste recycling scheme because it will be impossible to check for contamination in enclosed bags. Leaves collected from the garden for the green waste scheme will be taken for recycling because the green waste bags are easier to check for household contamination, although householders are asked not to overfill them because of the weight of wet leaves.

For the full story see Friday's Andover Advertiser