Re-think over fines on house bins

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Scarborough residents who leave their bins out on the street after collections could escape being fined.

This follows Government plans to scrap financial penalties for anyone flouting refuse and recycling rules in the town.

But there are concerns that the new move would mean a minority of residents will just leave their bins out all week.

Harry Briggs, Scarborough Council’s Recycling and Waste Enforcement Manager, yesterday said the authority was constantly engaged in a battle with sections of householders.

He said: “A small minority of residents and businesses make no effort to properly manage their waste, which can have a serious effect on the quality of life for others. Most action is taken as a result of members of the public asking for us to take action – for bins being left out on the street or for people dumping black sacks and furniture in rear alleys.”

He added: “We have always seen, and used, such powers as a last resort and in an attempt to safeguard our community.

“If the ultimate sanction is removed we will have to review our procedures to ensure we can still take the action many individuals and community groups want and demand.”

The moves come as the Government looks to abolish a controversial pilot scheme, which aimed to reward those who produced the least waste and tax residents who created the most rubbish.

Ministers have also written to councils warning them against so-called backdoor bin charging for collecting rubbish and warned against demanding monies for anything other than garden waste or bulky items.

The Government is taking these actions because some local authorities have been over-zealous in bin collection policies, taking heavy-handed action for minor offences or for revenue-raising.

However, serious fly-tipping cases will still be prosecuted under the new Government guidelines to curb a surge in illegal rubbish dumping and burning.

Mr Briggs said he was aware the economic downturn had brought with it extra scrutiny into an authority’s work and financial standing, but said Scarborough Council had been engaging with residents on a positive level for a number of years to boost waste and recycling awareness.

He added: “It is understandable at a time of greater focus on public services, for all activities of the council to be scrutinised.

“However, I fear the tone can sometimes set the public and council’s as enemies in waste management.

“This should not be the case, we should all be working together to best manage the waste we all produce and I think in Scarborough that we do well in this.

“Together we’ve all more than doubled the amount of waste we recycle in a few years, however we can only do this if everyone plays their part.

“I am keen to ensure that we keep the goodwill of the public by arranging events such as the compost giveaways whilst working hard to tackle the minority that still do not do their bit.”