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Local elections bin backlash

Keith Parkins | 24.04.2007 15:36 | Health | Repression | Social Struggles | Oxford

There is expected to be a major bin backlash in the May local elections, with councillors who backed fortnightly waste collection kicked out of office.

bins left in the street
bins left in the street

overflowing bins one week to go
overflowing bins one week to go

overflowing bins one week to go
overflowing bins one week to go

not emptied for years
not emptied for years

overflowing bins left in the street
overflowing bins left in the street

"It is not the job of our waste teams to collect wheeled bins from driveways... However, in this instance and as a gesture of goodwill, as long as the bin contains only appropriate waste and has its lid closed, we will return to collect it." -- Dennis Pennis, Rochdale council

"People are finding it very difficult to understand why, when their council tax has doubled under Labour, their bin collection has halved. I am not enthusiastic about fortnightly collections. They have the potential to be acutely problematic in urban areas. If you live in a congested, densely packed street then the smells and rubbish can become a real nuisance. It also makes life very difficult for families with young children who do not have any other way to dispose of nappies." -- Caroline Spelman, Shadow Local Government Secretary

"The majority of people do want to recycle but they also want a weekly collection of general waste." -- Doretta Cocks, Campaign for Weekly Waste Collection

"I worry about public health. People are very angry about it, but the council insists it is not backing down." -- Eric Murray, CROW

"If rubbish is decaying for two weeks and is heated by warm weather, it provides a fertile breeding ground for spores. Exposure to fungi on this level can trigger sore throats, respiratory symptoms, faintness, weakness and depression, asthma and other allergic reactions." -- Dr Tom Kosatsky, medical epidemiologist, McGill University, Montreal

"Councils introduced the change without recognising there may be a risk to occupational health." -- Dr Toni Gladding, lecturer in environmental engineering, Open University

Will the great British public punish their councils in the local elections for the actions of the bin police?

Environmentalists should be very worried that the cuts in collection of weekly waste is being done in the name of recycling as it is poisoning the green agenda. You do not play the fool with public health, as many councils seem to be doing in order to save a few pennies.

Arbitrary rules and pig-ignorant, bloody minded council officials is making a bad situation worse.

In Rochdale, a pompous town hall jobsworth called Dennis Pennis, has deigned to collect the rubbish from an elderly lady suffering from arthritis. Her 'crime' was to leave her wheelie bin all of 12 inches short of the pavement.

According to the jumped up pompous ass at Rochdale, "It is not our job to collect wheeled bins from driveways.". Er, excuse me, what do we employ bin men for?

Maybe this pompous jackass should be reminded that local councils are under a statutory duty to collect domestic waste.

The Public Health Act 1875, places a statutory duty on local authorities to collect our domestic waste.

In the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, several thousand household who are suffering under fortnightly waste collected are being encouraged to file formal complaints with the Local Authority Ombudsman for the council failing to discharge its statutory responsibilities.

I remember the good old days when the bin men would walk down my back garden, hump the bin on their back, dump the rubbish in the lorry, then bring the bin back. And they managed to do it without leaving a trail of rubbish in their wake.

Now you are lucky, if they take the trouble to take your bin a few feet from your house in wheeled bin to their lorry, where a mechanical grab hoists it and empties, then if you are very lucky, the bin men manage to return your wheelie bin back to where it belongs. And do so without leaving a trail of refuse.

My bins are regularly left unemptied, and if they are emptied, the bins are left in the street for an elderly or visually impaired person to collide with. It is a common complaint locally.

It would have taken more effort for the bin police in Rochdale to size up that the elderly lady's bin was too much trouble, than it would have to empty the bin, but that would be to miss the name of the game in local government which is to maximise costs to the local taxpayer and in return minimise the service provided. And if this can be done whilst at the same time causing maximum hassle and distress to the public, then all the better.

This can be seen with the move by many councils to fortnightly collection of rubbish. Some go through the pretense that it is about recycling, but others with their contempt for the public, do away with the pretense and just cut the service. Be under no illusion, this has got absolutely nothing to do with recycling or waste reduction, though these may indeed be useful by products, it is nothing less than a slash and burn reduction in public services.

Over 100 councils have now imposed this cut in services. Nine million people no longer have a proper waste collection service.

We all pay our local taxes, we do not have a choice, if we refuse we end up in prison. The absolute basic minimum service we expect from our local council in return for our exorbitant taxes which go to supporting an ever larger bloated beuracracy, is to have our bins emptied and our rubbish collected on a regular weekly basis.

The lie that this is about recycling is demonstrated by our continental cousin who have their rubbish collected every day or every alternate day (note day not week) and still manage to easily outperform our pathetic recycling figures.

The other excuse for imposing fortnightly collections, is that the EU will impose swinging taxes on us. Apart from the fact that this is yet another reason to tell Brussels where they can stuff their taxes, whether rubbish is collected daily or weekly or fortnightly, it is still the same amount of rubbish that is being collected, the same amount of rubbish that has be disposed off.

In the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, another example of a jumped up petty jobsworth, is the arrogant David Quirk. His response to complaints is that he does not like criticism and that he has no intention of entering into a dialogue.

The equally arrogant Roland Dibbs, the councillor responsible for introducing fortnightly collection in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, has claimed only one person has complained and that out on the street (it is local elections the only time Dibbs is out on the streets) everyone he meets is in favour of having their services cut.

Yeah, and the Pope is not a Catholic.

Just a glance through the local papers shows this to be a lie. Or maybe he cannot count beyond one, although he had no problem counting beyond one when it came to his allowances which last year topped £11k. A nice little tax-free earner for doing nothing.

I am out on the streets most days. Everyone I meet and talk to, with a couple of exceptions, has told me they do not want fortnightly collection of their rubbish. Not only have they said they do not want it, but they are extremely angry at the cut in their services. Those that are on it, are having their lives made a misery. The responsible are carting their waste to the local tip generating traffic congestion and air pollution, the irresponsible are throwing it in the street, fly-tipping or burning in the back garden.

Government figures show a 10% increase in fly-tipping. In Ireland, which now has a bin tax, back yard burning of waste is the major source of deteriorating air quality.

The elderly, the infirm, the disabled are having problems putting their twice as heavy bins out for collection.

In an Out of Touch election comic that Dibbs distributed at the weekend, he claimed there were no health problems!

There are problems with the stench of rotting rubbish, soon to get worse as the weather hots up, flies, maggots, rats. The World Health Organisation has warned that in a temperate climate likes ours, it is necessary to collect at least once a week, to safeguard public health.

Across the country a picture is emerging of rats, flies, maggots, fly-tipping, rubbish strewn streets, the stench of rotting rubbish. A picture that is being regularly reported by the national press, and more recently on TV. Oxford, which has recently introduced fortnightly collection, has overflowing bins, rubbish strewn streets.


The World Health Organisation has warned that in a temperate climate such as England, waste must be collected weekly.

Recent research published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, has shown that bins left for two weeks have ten times the amount of fungal spores and bacteria in the air around the bin, than bins emptied weekly.

Research in Norway and Sweden has shown that bin men are suffering respiratory problems when waste is left to decay in bins for two weeks.

Research carried out on behalf of the News of the World has shown a massive increase in bacterial count if waste is left for two weeks.

In the same Out of Touch election comic, Dibbs falsely claims fortnightly collection is a success across Hampshire.

As everyone in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor knows, fortnightly collection in neighbouring Hart is proving to be a disaster, is deeply unpopular with local residents. Southampton was on fortnightly, but following public outcry, has gone back to weekly. Basingstoke was intending to go fortnightly, public pressure forced the council to retain weekly.

People with young families cannot cope.

Talking with army families in Aldershot, who are on fortnightly collections, their bins were overflowing and they had another week to go before their rubbish was going to be collected.

In the derelict Farnborough town centre there is a wheelie bin that has not been touched for years, retailers tell me for at least four years. It is full of decaying rubbish, has filled with rainwater. The fetid water has now become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The Council knows, but does nothing.

Overflowing bins, stench of rotting rubbish, rubbish strewn streets, fly-tipping, is now becoming the norm in Aldershot and Farnborough. We expect rats and maggots as spring turns to summer. It must be what Dibbs meant in one of his Out of Touch election comics when he said he is working for a 'cleaner, safer Rushmoor'!

As one person said to me on the street: 'He's having a laugh!'

If not cutting our services is bad enough, many councils are now fining households for infringements of petty regulations they have dreamt up merely to punish us.

Put your bin out on the wrong day, nay not even the wrong day, at the wrong time, and you will be served an on-the-spot fine. Leave your bin lid up, bin overflowing, the wrong waste in the wrong bin, bagged rubbish by your bin, and yes, an on-the-spot fine.

Last year, 100 people a day were being fined. The figures are probably now higher.

Last year more than 33,000 householders were fined for breach of petty rubbish disposal rules. This includes a pensioner in Burnley who was warned he'd be ordered to pay £1,000 if he made the mistake of putting an orange juice carton in the wrong recycling sack again. In Liverpool, a group of residents were threatened with fines of up to £20,000 for leaving their bins out on the wrong day.

A man was disturbed at night by two men rifling through his bin, thinking it was burglars or ID fraudsters, he called the police, only to discover it was the dreaded bin police going through his rubbish to determine if it was kosher.

Instead of skulking around like thieves in the night, why don't they just collect the rubbish?

These same councils who punish householders with an army of bin police, do nothing to protect the same householders from the juvenile thugs who are turning many areas into no-go areas, and if the householders in sheer desperation take the law into their own hands and have a go, it is they who are punished, that is assuming some knife-wielding thug does not kill them first.

Public service has become one of those Orwellian phrases where a group of worthless people sit in their offices dreaming up ever more daft ways of extracting money from us and and at the same time inventing more rules by which we can be punished and yet more pathetic excuses for inaction.

Soon, we will have micro-implants in our bins, so the council can spy on us, yet another extension of the surveillance society.

How long will it be before it is all incorporated in yet another serious crime and terrorism act?

If you are thinking of getting rid of your rubbish in the town's litter bins on your way to work or to the shops, think again, a such a heinous act is already classed as a criminal offence.

Thinking of protesting to the town hall or taking direct action by dumping all your waste in the town hall. Think again, as that is a sure fire guaranteed way to get yourself an Asbo or arrested as a terrorist.

This author was threatened with an Asbo by daring to respond to an official notice posted in the street by the Secretary State inviting objections to the destruction of a town centre by having the temerity to take up the invitation. Exploiting a technicality was how the leader of the council called it. The same leader of the council who, together with the council chief executive, has regular private meetings with the developer who is destroying the town centre, but that is another story.

Getting our bins emptied is not a special personal service that we expect as a special favour, it is a basic universal service. Since when has collection of waste been a 'gesture of goodwill' (and even then only if containing appropriate waste and the bin has its lid closed), as the pompous prick at Rochdale states? It is a council service we pay for.

Of course cutting down on our waste, recycling more, is something we should all be doing, but it is dishonest of councils to claim that what they are doing has anything to do with recycling or waste reduction. But then when did you last meet an honest councillor, a councillor without a self-inflated ego who was not out to line his pocket and get his snout in the trough? They do still exist but the chances of finding one is about the same as the expectation of meeting a polite, helpful council official.

It is little surprise then that a backlash is taking place across the country against these bullying, hectoring dictators who infest our town halls.

Voters are abandoning traditional party loyalties to vote in candidates who are willing to stand up against the town hall bullies. Independents are predicted to do particularly well. The usual suspects are jumping on the bandwagon, but we know they will not deliver once elected.

Councils need to be reminded they work for us, not the other way around.

To date, a dozen or more councils have caved in to public pressure and gone back to weekly collection.

One of these was Bolton that returned last year. Waste and refuse collection generated the largest volume of correspondence on any single subject in the Bolton Evening News . May 2006, fortnightly waste collection was the election issue in Bolton. Conservative and Labour made the weekly reinstatement of collections firm manifesto commitments in the May 2006 elections. The fortnightly Lib Dems were defeated, surviving in only one ward.

In Guildford, the Lib Dems observing what an unmitigated disaster fortnightly collection has proved to be in the neighbouring Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, have pledged in the May 2007 local elections to retain weekly collection of rubbish. A message that does not seem to have got through to the inept leader of the Lib Dems in Rushmoor, who like the equally inept Labour leader, has backed fortnightly collection. All councillors in Rushmoor up for reelection, including Roland Dibbs who was responsible for the introduction of fortnightly collection, backed fortnightly collection.

A sign of the collapse of civilisation, failing local councils, is piles of rotting garbage in the streets.

The Downing Street website has a petition calling for weekly refuse collection.


The Daily Mail has launched a campaign for weekly refuse collection.


Every local council that is forced to go back to weekly collection, puts pressure on the neighbouring councils to follow suit.

Think before you vote. Use your vote wisely.




Guy Basnett, Binfected: Killer bins, News of the World, 22 April 2007

Bin Them: New council proposals on rubbish collection are, well, garbage, The Times, 13 April 2007

David Clifford, One night I'll give a miss, Surrey-Hants Star, 19 April 2007

Councils fine thousands of residents for putting rubbish out early, Daily Mail, 13 April 2007

Steve Doughty, Nine million homes lose right to weekly rubbish collections, Daily Mail, 20 April 2007

Steve Doughty, Join the Great Dustbin Revolt, Daily Mail, 24 April 2007

A G Fox, Dustbins may prove to be the battleground for May's local elections, letters, Daily Telegraph, 20 April 2007

Jason Groves, Taxpayers in revolt over bin collections, Daily Express, 15 April 2007

George Jones, 9m homes no longer have weekly bin collection, Daily Telegraph, 19 April 2007

Richard Littlejohn, Waste management? Send for the Sopranos, The Mail on Sunday, 17 April 2007

Keith Parkins, A sense of the masses - a manifesto for the new revolution, www.heureka.clara.net, October 2003

Keith Parkins, Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city, www.heureka.clara.net, April 2006

Keith Parkins, Recycling – a tale of two councils, Indymedia UK, 5 January 2007

Keith Parkins, Fortnightly rubbish collection creating a plague of rats, Indymedia UK, 8 January 2007

Keith Parkins, Recycling – the good, the bad and the ugly, Indymedia UK, 7 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Recycling in the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor goes from bad to worse, Indymedia UK, 9 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Green waste recycling, Indymedia UK, 12 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Recycling and waste reduction being used as an excuse to cut services, Indymedia UK, 19 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Opposition grows in Rushmoor to cuts in refuse collection, Indymedia UK, 27 February 2007

Keith Parkins, Fortnightly collection of rubbish an unmitigated disaster, Indymedia UK, 26 March 2007

Keith Parkins, Fortnightly refuse collection, Indymedia UK, 10 April 2007

Keith Parkins, Council to be referred to Ombudsman for failing to collect rubbish, Indymedia UK, 13 April 2007

Recycling 'risks binmen's lungs', BBC News on-line, 29 March 2003

Steven Swinford, Asthma link to late bin pickup, The Sunday Times, 22 April 2007

James Tozer, Rubbish men ignore bin that is 12 inches from the pavement, Daily Mail, 16 April 2007

Jon Weston, And another thing ..., Surrey-Hants Star, 19 April 2007

Keith Parkins
- Homepage: http://www.heureka.clara.net/gaia/


Hide the following 4 comments

I've said it before

24.04.2007 16:17

but the only way to sort the problem of excess rubbish is by reducing it right at source, ie, massively reduce the amount of wasteful packaging being foisted on us since this is what the majority of household rubbish going to landfill is composed of now. This has to be down to legislation coming from central government. A huge tax on unnecessary packaging would soon force the criminally greedy and wasteful corporations to stop squandering the earth's resources and polluting the planet in this way with their gaudy, bulky and inpenetrable PVC blister packs. Any short sighted attempt on penalising householders for producing excess rubbish is bound to create problems of flytipping, back yard burning and sneaking rubbish into other people's bins.

Also I wouldn't become too nostalgic about the days when bin men lovingly carried the old fashioned dustbins gently up the path. This must have caused thousands of crippling back injuries and also serious cuts from protruding glass, sharp metal etc.

And the reason why they now drop bits all over the road, leave bins blocking paths etc is because they are forced to work at an insane rate or risk losing their jobs. Every year they have to reapply for their jobs against competition from other private ruthlessly run corporations.

b inladen


24.04.2007 22:59

There was a mainstream group - maybe the Greens- who suggested something sensible. Once you buy your shoping at your local Wallmart or Tesco or whatever, remove the excess packaging and dump it on thier tills. It can't hurt and it could help make the point hit home. Why clutter up your bins with their rubbish ?


you & the Daily Mail make a wonderful couple

25.04.2007 00:33

You gotta be worried when you're singing from the same song-sheet as the Daily Mail, that haven of informed and reasoned arguments - it probably cites itself as references/proof!

If we go on putting that amount of shit in our bins, we'll all die horribly. Surely you could write about that, and your time would be better spent.

blah blah blah (and I wonder how many versions of "bins aren't emptied weekly, waaaahhh" you'll post before the year's out 0 - a rhetorical question; please don't answer it!)


using the BBC to find balance!!!

25.04.2007 10:43

From  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6590533.stm

Refuse changes 'boost recycling'

Councils that have switched from weekly to fortnightly rubbish collections achieve higher recycling rates, a study has suggested.

It shows an average recycling rate of 30% for these councils, compared with 23% for those that had not switched.

The Local Government Association (LGA) study found some had already exceeded their targets for 2010.

But fortnightly collections have been criticised, with complaints about bad smells, maggots and vermin.

Doretta Cocks, a campaigner for weekly rubbish collections, is concerned at the increase in fortnightly systems.

It's not a big issue in the sense that people are clamouring for a weekly service, but we have a responsibility to listen

Will bins influence elections?

She said: "When the warmer weather comes, the contents of the bins start to smell, many people are finding maggot infestations in the bin and flies all around it.

"We do believe also that they are attracting rats and mice."

The LGA, which represents local councils in England, said such an increase in recycling across the country would save taxpayers about £22m a year in taxes on landfill.

LGA chairman Sandy Bruce-Lockhart said: "With landfill taxes set to rise dramatically in the coming five years, there will be more and more pressure on councils to cut the amount of rubbish that gets thrown into landfill."

He added: "Britain is the dustbin of Europe with more rubbish being thrown into landfill than any other country on the continent.

1. North Kesteven 51.5%
2. Rushcliffe 49.9%
3. S Cambridgeshire 49.4%
4. St Edmundsbury 48.6%
5. Huntingdonshire 48.0%

"For decades people have been used to being able to throw their rubbish away without worrying about environmental consequences or rising costs. Those days are now over."

He said the move to fortnightly collections aimed to "reduce waste, increase recycling and slow rising costs from EU legislation and higher landfill tax".

LGA senior policy consultant Corin Thomson told BBC News that if rubbish was not diverted from landfill then taxes on such waste - which will rise by a third next year - would be passed on to households.

The LGA says an alternating collection system increases recycling because householders tend to find their "waste" bin for non-recyclable rubbish fills up which encourages them to use the space in their "green" bin.

Landfill pressure

One national newspaper has already launched a campaign to save weekly bin rounds.

Last month it emerged that more homes could see the end of weekly bin collections, after government research said there would be no hygiene problems if rubbish was wrapped.

More than a third of councils in England have now abandoned weekly collections of rubbish, amid increasing pressure to dump less waste in landfills.

Some campaigners have claimed some councils made the switch at the same time as the introduction of recycling schemes, hence the increase in recycling figures.

Local authorities that have switched to fortnightly collections tend to alternate the collection of general refuse with that of recyclables such as paper or garden waste.


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