Waste proposals create a stink

PLANS to refuse to collect black bins containing compostable or recyclable waste could exacerbate problems of vermin on the streets and fuel health concerns, it has been warned.

PLANS to refuse to collect black bins containing compostable or recyclable waste could exacerbate problems of vermin on the streets and fuel health concerns, it has been warned.

The call comes after St Edmundsbury Borough Council raised new proposals to clamp down on householders who place waste in the wrong bin or who wrap any recyclable rubbish in bags.

The strict new plans, if approved by members, will see a 10p fee brought in for blue sacks to contain extra waste and a £10 charge brought in to empty bins “contaminated” with inappropriate items.

Council workers could also refuse to empty black bins, for example, which contain garden waste as part of a drive to encourage more people to recycle and compost their rubbish.

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And David Nettleton, who serves on the council as a Real Independent, said that problems had already surfaced in areas of Bury St Edmunds with regard to vermin, adding the new rulings could exacerbate the issue.

The plans come five months after the EADT revealed Babergh District Council were employing Government-funded “bin police” to ensure residents were using their blue bins correctly.

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“It is quite criminal that we are using landfill sites to dispose of our rubbish,” said Jeremy Farthing, council portfolio holder for the environment.

“I believe this is entirely the wrong way to be going about things, basically creating hazards for thousands of years, and that we should be pursuing alternative methods.

“If you are producing an awful lot of rubbish, it is only fair to pay the 10p for an extra sack, and 10p is a very small sum indeed.

“I think that the people of St Edmundsbury are intelligent enough to see that this is in everybody's interests.”

The new rulings could mean that anyone confused by which waste they should be putting in each of their three bins, such as the elderly, could be penalised.

But Mr Farthing said the means by which the scheme would be policed was still “open to discussion.”

“If you are enforcing something, it has to be enforced properly and you cannot make exceptions,” he added.

“The council has put out a lot of literature about what goes in each bin and maybe we should look at reissuing literature to those people who, for whatever reason, are using the wrong bin.

“Clearly we will be as understanding as we can and there is no black and white ruling on it.”

Mr Farthing added that discussions regarding vermin would take place at a policy development committee meeting next week.

Any rules agreed by that body will go before cabinet and full council for approval.

But Mr Nettleton said the body had to ensure it did not introduce rules which alienate the public in a scheme which largely relies on residents' good will.

“The scheme has had widespread support and the council must ensure that support continues as a paramount feature,” he said.

“If we brought in something thought to be too draconian, then it would be a mistake.

“If people do make mistakes then perhaps the council should have a sympathetic approach towards that.

“I would not be happy to get fined while making a genuine mistake.

“I am happy to penalise people just being balshy, but those making their best attempts to comply should be educated and helped to get it right rather than condemned.

“Perhaps we should be looking at the education side more than fining and punishment.

“You also have to prove it was a particular person who contaminated the bin when fining residents.”

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