THE city’s unloved and poorly maintained communal bins will be replaced or refurbished in a programme following pressure from the Montpelier and Clifton Hill Association. The chair of the environment committee, Pete West, told the committee on 7th October, that the replacement programme will begin in April next year.
The pledge to replace the bins represents a significant victory for the MCHA. Cityclean, the council’s rubbish department, had no intention of replacing any of the communal bins for at least a couple of years.
In June the Montpelier and Clifton Hill Association’s survey revealed that the communal bins in our area were in a deplorable state. The survey found that 70 per cent of the bins in our area were defective, with two topless bins and one see-through bin. One of the topless bins has subsquently had an amateurish repair job. Although the MCHA survey only covered the 50 bins in our area other parts of the city clearly had similar problems.
The MCHA sent the results of our survey to local councillors and to key councillors on the environment committee. The issue was taken up by Gill Mitchell (Labour), who tabled a question, and Geoffrey Theobald (Conservative) who wrote a letter to the council’s chief executive. The MCHA briefed both councillors.
Councillor Mitchell told the committee that the MCHA survey had revealed a lack of maintenance in repairing or replacing the bins. “The bins were put in to contain refuse and to stop wildlife getting at it. This isn’t happening. The seagulls are able to get into the bins and hoick all the mess onto the streets.”
The Health and Safety Executive, said Councillor Theobald, recommended that “arrangements should be made for prompt reporting and replacement of bins that have been identified as unacceptably worn or faulty.”
“Quite clearly,” said Councillor Theobald “we’re not abiding by this.” He said that the amount of flytipping and the dilapidated bins were “an eyesore and a health hazard for our visitors and residents alike.” On a more general level, he said, it was time to look at again at how the system for collecting rubbish could be improved.
“Many of the bins have now been in place for five years or more, and need to be taken off the street for more significant repair or replacement,” Councillor West told the committee. He said that now that the council had paid back the loan it had taken out to buy the bins it now the money to finance a rolling programme of replacing the bins.
Councillor West said the council would carry out an audit of the bins and the replacement programme would begin in April. There are some 700 bins in the city centre and that all these bins should be replaced or refurbished every five years.
When the introduction of communal bins throughout the city centre was first approved in 2008 Cityclean had made no plans to replace the bins for at least seven years.