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Bolton Council was the first local authority to introduce smaller wheelie bins to encourage residents to recycle more, but they have been criticised by local fire chiefs, who claim that there has been an increase in fly tipping and incidences of arson since the smaller bins were introduced.
Increases in arson attacks
The smaller bins have a 140-litre capacity instead of 240 litres, and they cost £2 million to introduce. The aim was to increase recycling rates, but the fire service claim that the only result of the introduction of the new bins has been an increase in fly-tipping and a 30% increase in arson. They said that in the last few months of last year, crews were called to 354 fires, an increase from 271 in the same period last year. The fire authority has urged people not to dump rubbish, as it is a target for those who want to set deliberate fires.
The council fights back
But the council disagrees. They stated that the fire service does not have fly tipping data, and in fact, the overall incidences of fly tipping are down. They have spent money on educating young people and residents about arson and fly tipping, and they have given out more fines than ever before to those who flout the rules. The council said that other local authorities are following Bolton’s introduction of the new bins as good practice.
Resident’s groups have complained to the council about the smaller bins increasing the amount of fly-tipping and they feel that they haven’t been listened to. However, the council claims that they will make a £1.2-1.5 million saving each year in landfill and disposal costs.
Rollout to increase recycling rates
Trafford, Oldham, and Stockport councils have followed in Bolton’s footsteps and have introduced the smaller bins. There has been more provision made for recycling bins however, due to the smaller general waste bins, in the hope that this will encourage residents to recycle more and in turn, help the local authorities to meet their recycling targets.