On the 3rd October 2006, this letter is written on behalf of those who attended the public meeting on the 25th September and is approved by the Kingsdown residents who convened that meeting to The Director, Neighbourhood and Housing Services of Bristol City Council.
Dear Mr. Crawley
Kingsdown wheelie bins
This correspondence follows our earlier meetings and telephone conversations with Paul Rosser about Kingsdown Parade and some surrounding roads that have recently suffered persistent problems with waste collection. On Monday the 25th September residents organised a public meeting to discuss their experience of the new waste collection service. We were grateful that Councillor Mark Wright who accepted our invitation. The meeting unanimously expressed these views.
We want to make the City Council’s policy to increase the recycled proportion of household waste work. We sympathise with the Waste Service’s officers who must cope with the new arrangements’ problems. We are frustrated about the state of our streets. If you accept our suggestions, we hope that the number of complaints that you receive will drop.
The City Council has designated Kingsdown a conservation area. Before the 8th August most residents put out bags of rubbish for collection. Household rubbish, left on the street, was an occasional problem. On some streets, it’s now a chronic problem. The enclosed photographs show the disaster that has fallen on the street scene. These photographs were taken on the Saturday after a Tuesday collection. They are typical. Please note that some households leave their bin on the pavement or, next to the pavement, between collections. Please also note the total number of the bins that the photographs show.
Wheelie bins left permanently outside obstruct the pavement. The area looks like a bin city.
Passers-by add to the contents of bins kept on the pavement or next to the pavement. Rubbish spills out and, if it is glass, breaks on the pavement. Food spill attracts vermin. Other spill can include disposable nappies.
The bins are useful to burglars and high level taggers. Some bins will be set ablaze.
Wheelie bins obstruct the street cleaners who cannot move all of the bins to clean the pavements.
Unless a householder took active steps to refuse a wheelie bin, one was delivered to every household. Some people choose to keep their bins on the pavement or next to the pavement.
Wheelie bins are impractical for houses that directly front the street. These houses have nowhere to store large bins indoors. Kingsdown gardens are frequently at a lower level than the street. The bins are too big to be carried up and down steps and stairs. Elderly, disabled and frail people are unable to move a wheelie bin.
Many Kingsdown houses are in multi-occupation (HIMOs). They have received multiple bins. There is nowhere inside HIMOs to keep rubbish, let alone store the volume of bins distributed. This encourages people to store their rubbish outside. One photograph shows 20 assorted bins outside 12 houses. Students occupy many HIMOs; many have no interest in the adverse social impact of their rubbish.
The two-week collection cycle encourages people to keep waste on the pavement.
Principal proposal to return the area to its pre-8th August appearance.
Residents who keep wheelie bins on the street or, next to the pavement, between collections, should be given notice to take in their wheelie bins between collections or give them up. The City Council remains the owner of the wheelie bins. Bins kept next to the pavement are as much of a nuisance as those that are left on the pavement.
At Richmond Terrace Clifton, overflow bins are provided. These could be installed near similar terraces in Kingsdown. Could the City Council install a mini-recycling centre, to include a plastic bottle disposal? Plastics contribute significantly to the waste destined for land fill.
Restore a weekly, black bag, household waste collection cycle
The City Council should restore a weekly, black bag, household waste collection cycle where wheelie bins cannot be kept off the street. People will dump their bin bags, which they are unwilling to keep in their homes for two weeks.
The City Council should tolerate exceptions to the policy to distribute wheelie bins universally, where the circumstances so dictate. We have been told that the arrangements in Clifton are more flexible.
The need for further information
(i) Residents say that they experience problems communicating with Waste Services. This discourages public co-operation. We suggest that you set up a dedicated telephone line with a named officer.
(ii) Information addressed “to the householder” goes unnoticed in many HIMOs. The City Council should use the voter register data to address as many registered occupiers by name as is possible. Some occupiers of HIMOs say that they have not received any of the leaflets delivered by you.
(iii) We suggest that the City Council should each year arrange with Bristol University and UWE to distribute information about waste collection. New students and students who return to a new address will have no idea about waste collection.
Amending planning policy
The Planning Committee should adopt a policy to refuse permission to convert a house into a HIMO unless the house includes adequate provision for internal rubbish storage. This is the policy of a number of London boroughs.
We look forward to your response to our proposals. At the same time, could you tell us the outcome of the customer survey that followed the introduction of the new waste services, please?