Wheelie Bin News Roundup 28th November
A Leicester couple who were fined £80 each back in 2017 for leaving their wheelie bins in the street after collections ended up being chased by the council for £1000 in costs after they didn’t pay the original fines.
The couple received a huge invoice for just over £1000 from the council which included £160 for the two original fines plus enforcement costs of £517.49 and £330.53 for the man and woman respectively.
The man had appealed against the original fine, saying that his bin would often disappear and reappear after collections. He also said that the council had not communicated with him prior to the fine about his bins being left out. He then withdrew his appeal, thinking he wouldn’t win anyway and said he would pay the £80. The couple moved to a new home and the council sent a demand for the £80 to be paid within 14 days. Unfortunately, this was sent to the couple’s former address.
When no payment was received, a final notice was sent, again to the couple’s old address, explaining that non-payment of the fine would result in enforcement action being taken.
The man complained to the Local Government Ombudsman that the council’s conduct had caused them ‘significant stress and anxiety’ and it started an investigation.
The ombudsman found that the council was at fault for invoicing the couple for investigation and enforcement costs, but added that the couple’s actions had contributed to the worsening of the situation. It was found that they did not notify the council of their new address, which it would have expected them to do.
In its report, the ombudsman stated that it was concerned about the council’s approach and questioned whether any other people have been treated the same.
A council spokesperson said it accepted the findings that it was too soon to apply investigation costs to the case, and added that they had now been cancelled. The original fine has now been paid.
The annual charge for green waste collections in South Ribble, Lancashire will be reduced from £30 to £25 from April 2020. The charge was originally introduced 18 months ago and 24,500 households signed up for collections, despite the charge being deemed ‘controversial and unpopular.’
Liberal Democrat councillors said that the reduction was hopefully a first step towards future reductions or even total exemptions for pensioners and those on low incomes. The councillors also posed the question as to why bins aren’t collected over Christmas as there is substantial leaf-fall and Christmas trees that people may want to recycle.
The minority Labour council said that a collection service for Christmas trees may be considered, and that charges for pensioners and low income families would be reviewed.
The amount of garden waste collected has actually fallen since the charge was introduced, but the council said it hasn’t resulted in an increase in fly-tipping or in waste being placed in other people’s bins.
It’s that time of year again, when fire services across the UK are having to issue warnings about nuisance wheelie bin fires. The latest is the fire service in Bolton.
Crews were called to multiple incidents in the town on one night recently which it said could have prevented them from being able to respond to a life-threatening incident.
One of the incidents was a wheelie bin fire in the grounds of the Hall i' th' Wood Museum. The fire had been started by a gang of youths who had stolen a bin from elsewhere.
In another incident in the early hours of the morning, crews were called to a residential property where someone had been burning household waste, another wheelie bin fire, and a motor cycle fire which had been started deliberately in local woodland.
The fire service is calling on people to think about the consequences of their actions and how they could be putting others at risk.
A local watch manager said that when a crew are on route to an incident, they can be redirected to higher priority incidents, but once they’ve arrived, it’s not possible. He said nuisance behaviour could potentially take resources away from life-threatening incidents and put lives and property at risk.