Campaigners oppose communal bins because of overflowing rubbish, fly-tipping and safety concerns

Campaigners are objecting to the prospect of communal bins coming to their part of Brighton because of overflowing rubbish, fly-tipping and safety concerns.

They cited the regular mess around communal bins in a nearby street – Upper Lewes Road – and said that they worried that recycling rates would fall.

One of them, Claire Elliott, spoke out at a virtual council meeting on Tuesday on behalf of her neighbours in four streets – Roundhill Crescent, Ashdown Road, D’Aubigny Road and the northern end of Richmond Road.

She urged the council to bring in separate waste food collections. Without them, she said: “Communal bins are very smelly and they attract rats and seagulls.”

She led a deputation to Brighton and Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee after plans were agreed to consult thousands of people about switching to communal bins in many more streets.

And she told the committee: “Roundhill is an engaged and active community which generally supports the council’s objectives to reduce costs and increase recycling and together we have a history of mutual and active support for green and social initiatives.”

“We are not NIMBYs,” she said, referring to the dismissive term “Not In My Back Yard”.

Mrs Elliott said: “We are genuinely interested to know whether the council can offer examples of successful communal bins schemes in Brighton and Hove?

“We are aware of a recent issue with residents of Hanover being incorrectly fined for fly-tipping at a communal bin outside their home and plan to liaise with residents’ associations elsewhere in the city to understand their experiences.”

She added: “The communal bins in adjoining Upper Lewes Road which have operated for over three years illustrate a waste strategy that is ineffective.”

The deputation included photographs taken on various dates, showing the extent of the problems.

She said: “Overflowing rubbish, including food waste and broken glass, presents a health hazard and obstructs access, often causing pedestrians to walk in the road.”

Other problems included

  • pile ups of uncontained, improperly disposed of waste, including large and bulky items.
  • recycling rates reduced due to increased contamination rates
  • greater anonymity, exacerbating fly-tipping, “laziness” and “improper disposal”
  • degrading their surrounds by being unsightly, poorly designed and attractive targets for graffiti

Mrs Elliott added that her neighbours felt that bringing in communal bins in a conservation area would not “preserve or enhance” it – and went against the spirit of the rules.

And they had only just been given new wheelie bins by the council which would be taken away again if communal bins were brought in.

Green councillor Amy Heley, who chairs the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said: “No decisions have been made about where communal bins will be introduced.

“As set out in the report to this committee in November 2020, the committee has only approved a consultation to commence with residents, staff and unions.

“The results of the consultation will be presented back to committee for a decision when completed.

“A significant review of the communal system in Brighton and Hove is being completed through the service’s ‘modernisation programme’.

“The feedback in this deputation are some of the things we are seeking to address as part of this.

“Through this work, we have identified some future principles to adopt for the communal bin system.

“These were presented to this committee in June 2019 and include

  • placing all three bin types together, where operationally and practically possible
  • enclosing each set of bins in a bin bay to ensure bins do not move and infringe other highway spaces
  • changing the capacity to 1,100 litres for all bin types to improve the resilience of the service – collection frequencies will also increase
  • installing sound-deadening glass bins to reduce the noise impact of these
  • installing CCTV in appropriate locations to deter moving of bins and fly-tipping to be monitored by environmental enforcement officers and, where sufficient evidence is available, fixed penalty notices will be issued
  • introducing a cleaning and maintenance regime to improve and sustain the new communal bin system.

“Further work is under way to refine this. Once determined, the proposed locations, the size of communal bins and the frequency of collections, as requested in the deputation, will be included in the consultation document.

“This is what has happened for previous communal bin consultations and I assure you will take place for the next round of consultations.

“There will be a consultation with the residents of the roads identified in the report to this committee in September 2020, which may or may not results in communal bins.

“But we must seek the views of all residents.”

  1. Lewes Road Resident Reply

    Why would any resident want to swap a bin at their house to one half way down the street? And why does someone have to put up with getting their doorway blocked with the communal bin?

    Why swap a bin that can be kept clean and sanitised by the house owner for one that is going to share infections with all that use it?

    This is making an Us and Them society in this city. This should lead to discounts on their council tax for people who loose rubbish collection and have to suffer this mess. Like the Parking Zones these bins are creeping out to areas that really don’t need them just to save the council some cash and give a worse service to the locals.

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