Bin Sin (Take them in)!

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Sam Ash recently posted HERE (and on facebook) about “Rubbish Bin Problems”, and I offered to look into it.

Leaving bins out (Wheelie Bins, Wheeled Bins, Household Waste Bins, Black Bins, etc) on non-delivery days is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and many UK councils have used this to apply fixed penalties to offenders (by way of a “Fixed Penalty Notice” attached to the bin).

Some councils classify bins left our more than 2 days in advance of collection date as fly-tipping and prosecute accordingly and some councils (eg: East Riding, Yorkshire) may even prosecute under Section 137 of the Highways Act 1980 (carries a £1,000 fine) for pavement/highway obstruction.

Here‘s an article about a guy in Stockton who was fined £560 for ignoring “an initial warning letter, a Fixed Penalty Notice and a reminder letter.”

I was sure that Glos’ (City/County) Council would have a policy covering this, because I (and my wife) recall that they’ve enforced it in the past, but when I check their website there’s no mention of it. Their policy covering “Household Waste Collections” (HERE) simply says:

Gloucester City Council has a closed bin lid policy for waste bins, so your bin should be presented for collection by 7am with the lid closed.

I found many articles about other UK councils who have introduced policies and penalties to persuade people to remove empty bins from streets – like Norwich (where the fine is £80)! The article (HERE) includes this:

"Under the Environmental Protection Act, the council can serve a notice requiring people to ensure their wheelie bins are not placed out for collection earlier than 6pm the day before their scheduled collection and that they are returned to within the boundary of their property before 9am the day after collection."

I also found a policy document for Leeds City Council – HERE – which includes the following:

To ensure that domestic wheeled bins are stored in their correct locations in order to improve the overall street scene environment. Enforcement action will be reasonable and will only be taken against repeat offenders after proper warnings have been offered. Prosecutions can be avoided through the use of fixed penalty notices being offered to the offenders.

To seek an improvement in the visual street and public open space environment.
Leeds provides wheeled bins for the collection and recycling of household waste. The householder has a duty to handle their waste as the collection authority expects. This is to keep costs down, improve efficiencies and to maximise the amount of waste recycled. After collection, it is important that the wheeled bin is returned to within the boundaries of the premises and not left on the highway.
Bins left on streets can look unsightly, can be vandalised or blow over, causing damage to vehicles etc, or can be stolen for uses elsewhere, such as to carry stolen goods away from the scene of a crime.
They also obstruct pavements, creating danger to pedestrians."

That describes the problem rather nicely and goes on to detail and discuss some relevant legislation.

Today I contacted the local council and asked them to clarify their policy and I will post their response here.

5 Responses to “Bin Sin (Take them in)!”

    Hi Lauren,

    Ouch that sounds like a sobering experience! 🙁
    Thanks very much for sharing the information and I apologise for the delay in adding your comment.

    Hi Clive,
    A word of warning to all readers in the Kingsway and surrounding areas.
    Due to a recent 2 weeks holiday I missed my local council collection, I ended up using a man and the van rubbish clearance service I found on Facebook, it cost me £35 and the damn guy fly-tipped the waste. I ended up going to court and being fined as it was my fault for not making sure the guy was a registered waste carrier.
    I urge anyone wishing to have waste removed to check that the company you hire has a waste carriers licence issued by the UK environment agency. You can check to see if a business is registered here.

    Also check to see if they are registered with AFTA the anti fly-tipping association.

    Last thing you want to do is be taken to court and prosecuted and end up with a criminal record. Be very wary when hiring these man and van type services to clear your waste.

    I received a reply from Wayne Best at Gloucester City Council: He confirmed that the City Council have no policy on this matter at present and went on to say that he is expecting the Government to remove or alter (EPA) section 46 provision, because some councils are being “too heavy handed” in their approach!

    I like bins kept out if sight wherever possible. They’re not pretty and nobody has the right to leave them on public land.

    Thanks Clive.
    After walking around some of the back streets of the city last week, I feel this is not just a problem that our area has, it affects all of Gloucester.
    Maybe it’s time for them to start enforcing and issuing fixed penalties. But then pressure should also be put on developers to make accommodation for bins. This would make life easier especially if your house has no front garden etc.

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