Protesting residents could be fined £1000 if they don't use council's new wheelie bins in Milton Keynes

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Residents who say wheelie bins are too big for their tiny gardens have been threatened with £1000 fines if they leave them out on the pavement.

The move comes as part of MK Council's new wheelie bin trial, which will involve households in selected areas have four different full-size bins to manoeuvre.

As well as the standard green bin for food and garden waste, they will now have blue-lidded wheelie bins for plastic, metals and glass, red bins for paper and card and grey ones for residual waste.

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Lorry loads of the new bins were delivered this week to the old-fashioned terraced streets of New Bradwell - and immediately caused an outcry.

One of the new bins crammed up against a car on the narrow New Bradwell streetOne of the new bins crammed up against a car on the narrow New Bradwell street
One of the new bins crammed up against a car on the narrow New Bradwell street

Some residents had told the council they didn't want to take part in the trial, but they say their wishes were ignored.

In many of the New Bradwell streets, the 'Victorian and Edwardian terraced houses are separated by narrow alleyways and have tiny gardens with limited access. The roads are also narrow.

"Our streets are now littered with these unsightly bins, making it look a complete eyesore. Almost every street in the area has large numbers of these things left outside directly on the pavement causing huge obstructions," said St Giles Street resident Andrew Jolly.

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He added: "At no point did MK council consult with the residents on the suitability of these and we have also been issued with a 'Notice Under Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 - Receptacles for Household Waste - Legal Notice' stating that we can be fined up to £1000 for leaving these outside on the pavement.

"I see that notice as a complete bullying tactic by MK Council to force us local residents of New Bradwell to carry out their test of wheeled bins."

Mr Jolly added: "We are not against recycling. In fact, I am sure that 99 per cent of residents do their part and would continue to do so, but we don't have the facility to accommodate such large bins.

"Many residents will have to travel these through their house (remember there are now four wheeled bins for us). I am not sure how some of the elderly members of our community will cope doing this."

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Another New Bradwell householder fears the bins could cause dangerous obstructions when put out on the narrow pavements on collection days.

"I am a big advocate of green initiatives and recycling. However, whilst this may work in a new housing estate, these Victorian/Edwardian parts of our community do not integrate with this pilot at all," he said.

"I have written to the council but I very much doubt they will change their stance, meaning that for the next four months of this trial our streets will be a complete mess and difficult for the elderly, disabled and parents with push chairs, etc, to navigate around."

MK Council says plastic boxes could be used as alternatives in cases where wheelie bins would pose problems. But the New Bradwell residents claim they have been given no choice.

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One man said he "politely" asked the men delivering his new bins if he could opt for the boxes instead.

"I was told to 'It's not my department' by one worker and to 'Stop being so f****** awkward' by another," he said.

The council's pilot scheme launches on October 26 in 12 areas of MK. These include parts of Bletchley, Brooklands, New Bradwell, Monkston, Monkston Park, Water Eaton, the Lakes Estate, Grange Farm, Chicheley, Astwood, Hardmead and Little Crawley.

It is set to run for four months, until the end of February 2021. During this time food and residual waste bins will be collected weekly and recycling bins fortnightly.

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A council spokesman said for those households that can’t accommodate bins, boxes will be provided instead

He said the aim of the pilot was for residents to try out the wheeled bins and identify any issues.

"It will also enable us to thoroughly test our equipment and procedures to develop options for new waste and recycling collection methods before the contract renewal in 2023," he added.

Some 84 per cent of councils in England supply their residents with wheeled bins. Advantages include higher levels of recycling, lower rates of injuries for residents and staff moving sacks, and less street litter from sack spillage.

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Around 20 per cent of the recycling waste currently received in MK is contaminated and the council is keen to discover whether this can be improved with wheelie bins.

The spokesman said: "Monitoring will be in place to see if using wheeled bins leads to cleaner streets. Current arrangements mean that sacks left on the street can burst, or be ripped open by animals. The use of wheeled bins in the pilot may also lead to increased recycling and less fly tipping

He added: "We want to make sure Milton Keynes residents are completely happy with the process and results of the pilot, so we are starting off with an area that we can monitor, control and evaluate thoroughly.

MK is one the top recyclers in the UK and was one of the first places in the country to introduce separate kerbside recycling collection in the 1990s.

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In 1990 MK Council trialed red boxes for paper and blue boxes for glass, cans and plastic bottles. The scheme did so well that MK then became the first to build its own in-borough recycling plant.

The current system includes black rubbish sacks for regular waste that can’t be recycled, clear sacks for recycling, a blue box for glass and a green bin for food and garden waste. Variations are in place for flats, communal and special kerbside properties.

A series of public information sessions were initially planned for the wheelie bin pilot scheme but due to Covid-19, these were not possible. Instead, the council will use a short video to explain how people should use their new bins or boxes