Bins won’t be rubbish in Bedford’s parks after upgrade

Bins overflowing
Bin in Mill Meadows overflowing with litter all around

All the bins in Bedford’s parks are being updated to provide more capacity for rubbish and recycling provision.

Bedford Borough Council is responsible for the emptying of 1,129 litter bins, 620 dog bins, 59 dual recycling bins and 40 lay-by bins, across urban and rural locations.

The Bedford Borough Council’s Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee has now heard the council does not have a legal duty to provide litter and dog waste bins.

However, they were told yesterday (Thursday) that the Council does have a duty to keep council-owned land and public highways clear of litter and refuse as far as practicable.

Paul Pace, chief officer environment at the council, told the committee that all the litter bins in the Borough’s parks are being updated with larger bins – and recycling provisions are also being provided.

“When people are out about and they finish their plastic bottle, can, newspaper, whatever the case may be, there’s an opportunity there to recycle their items whilst they’re on the go,” he said.

Mr Pace added that in the past, bins had been installed “willy-nilly” and they weren’t looked at from either a user’s point of view or how convenient they were to service.

“We’ve had issues where dog bins have been located in places where we can’t get vehicles to, and an operative had to carry a 50-litre bag of dog waste, which is a considerable weight,” he said.

“So we have to think about manual handling and things like that as well.”

The replacement bins in the parks are being installed where the bins can be serviced from the road or a convenient place, rather than having to drive into the parks.

“So what we’re doing now is locating a lot of our litter bins in more strategic places, both for when people leaving the parks can dispose of their litter and recycling in easily located areas, but also we can service them a lot better than what we did in the past,” he said.

Cllr Kay Burley (Labour, Kempston Central & East Ward), the committee’s chair was concerned that the new locations could lead to more littering.

“Knowing that some people can be quite anxious to get rid of it [litter] immediately rather than carry it to the nearest bin, is this going to work?” she asked.

Mr Pace replied: “I think it’s important to say that, actually, we’re increasing the capacity out there by some significant amount.

“So there’ll be more room both to recycle and to throw away your waste.

“There may be fewer bins, so the users may have to walk a little bit further to get to the nearest bin, but all the bins are being located in the main exits and entrances into the park,” he said.

Councillor Burley added: “I was just thinking that despite all these lovely new bins, there are still some irresponsible people if they don’t have a bin there and then as they finish their bag of sweets or their cake, or pizza as the case may be, that they might actually throw it around.

“But if that’s being watched and that’s not happening, then that’s absolutely fine,” she said.

by John Guinn Local Democracy Reporter
and Bedford Independent’s Paul Hutchinson

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