Fines a last resort in review of rules for rubbish bins

WITH a national debate about bin collections and fines, Adur and Worthing councils are reviewing their rules for rubbish.

Adur cabinet member Keith Dollemore and Worthing member Clive Roberts are set to consider a change to the policy on rubbish and recycling collections.

The revised policy aims to address some of the issues which have arisen since the introduction of wheelie bins to both areas in September, 2009.

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“It is not intended to be a set of hard-and-fast rules, since there will be occasions where individuals may have circumstances that are not easily addressed by the policy document,” said waste strategy manager Paul Willis in his report to the cabinet members.

Adur and Worthing will continue to have weekly rubbish collections. The policy outlines the procedure for dealing with residents who repeatedly leave extra rubbish next to their bins.

In January, the government launched a consultation on a law to stop councils imposing bin fines on households overfilling their bins. Before the law changes, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has written to all councils asking them to reduce the level of penalties to as little as £40 from the spring.

Adur and Worthing’s policy outlines five stages for dealing with people who repeatedly leave extra rubbish outside.

The first time, the bin will be tagged providing contact details for advice and assistance; the second time, the compliance team will contact the resident directly; the third time, the resident will be given a formal notice; and, the fourth time, they will be fined £100.

If the resident continues to leave extra rubbish, they may face a criminal prosecution. Although the fine of £100 is higher than the £40 recommended by the government, Mr Willis said the councils had never had to fine a resident.

“We have always preferred an educational approach and often it is just that people are not aware they are causing a problem,” he told the Herald.

“We take a light approach as far as enforcement is concerned.”

The policy also aims to inform residents about how to get extra or bigger bins in special circumstances.

Although requests for bigger bins will usually be refused if there are fewer than five permanent residents, there are exceptions. In particular, the policy mentions disabled residents, or those with medical conditions, who may have additional medicinal packaging.

A temporary bin may also be provided to deal with a specific need; for example, a family which has just had twin babies may be given an extra bin until the youngsters are out of nappies.