Monday, 29 July 2013

Is Cornwall Council too poor to pay for bins?

It is true - Cornwall Council is not going to pay for bins (whether wheelie or otherwise) for every home in Cornwall. I'm not entirely sure why this story deserved to be the front page lead in today's Western Morning News.

Back in 2010, the council took the decision to move to a single waste contract for the whole of Cornwall. Stopping having six different contracts saved a heck of a lot of money. The new service didn't start too well - in fact it was a total disaster for the first couple of months. But it has now bedded down and I think most householders believe it to be a generally good service.

One of the decisions taken at the start was about whether to have wheelie bins or not. The last administration decided not. So residents put their rubbish out in black sacks and these are collected. If they want to use a bin of some description to protect the bags until they are collected then that is fine by us.

The only difference is in the former Penwith area where the old district council had a wheelie bin system. Many residents still use these bins and the council is happy to empty them. But they are not compulsory and the council will not replace them if they are lost or damaged.

Some residents have problems with seagulls or other wildlife attacking their rubbish bags before they can be collected. The council advises them either to use a bin, a seagull-proof bag or to cover their bags with an old bit of carpet. But we cannot provide any of these for residents.

The responsibility for rubbish stays with the resident until it is collected by the council. That is why we advise people to put their bins out on the morning of collection rather than the night before if possible. If their rubbish does cause a mess on a regular basis then our staff will talk to the householder concerned and give advice about how to stop the mess. If that advice is ignored then we will give a written warning. If they continue to refuse to take action then the council will issue a fixed penalty notice for littering - but this is very much the last resort.

Avoiding causing a mess and a nuisance for neighbours is just a matter of a bit of common sense. The alternative - the council paying for bins for all 270,000 houses in Cornwall - would be massively expensive and is not something that we can even think about affording at the moment.


Niknak said...

So how much was the "heck of a lot" of money" that was saved by switching contracts and was it not enough to provide bins?

Alex Folkes said...

I don't have the exact figures, but the amount saved would have been more than enough to pay for new bins at the time. The question is, would that have been the best use for such money then and, with more and more cuts on the way from central government, is it something we should seriously be contemplating now?

Katen said...

The last thing I would want is some vast council-issue bin cluttering up the garden. The new recycling bags are awkward enough. In my opinion it ain't broke and doesn't need fixing, especially at public expense when money is tight.