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Bin inspectors looking through rubbish and handing out fines in Telford

By Sophie Madden | Telford | News | Published:

People who put the wrong rubbish in their bins in Telford face fines as part of a campaign targeting the Telford’s worst-offending streets.

Sifting – Inspectors with the power to hand out £400 fins are searching through bins in 10 Telford streets looking for the wrong kind of rubbish

Householders are undergoing inspections from enforcement officers, who have been opening up wheelie bins.

They are threatening to fine home owners who ‘contaminate’ bins for recycling.

Ten streets are being targeted because of problems with bin contamination and flytipping.

They include Bishopdale, Burford and Blakemore in Brookside and Warrensway, Woodrows, Willowfield and Wantage in Woodside. Boulton Grange, Southgate and Hurleybrook Way are also on the list.

Several warnings have been handed out and residents have been told fines of up to £400 will follow unless improvements are made.

Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for enforcement, said: “​This is about taking pride in our community and creating a better borough by ridding it of the things that blight it, such as unsightly dumps of rubbish, litter and dog mess.”

The crackdown was planned after members of Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet agreed to train 40 new officers to police anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Overton said: “This campaign was the first of its kind where we identified specific areas that had the highest number of reports of litter and fly-tipping and offered help to people living in those areas to clean them up.

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“Our officers are now revisiting those areas to see if things have improved and early indications from areas already revisited have shown significant improvements. But we know there will be a small minority who will persist in offending. In those instances, our officers will have to resort to enforcement activity which would include fines or, in the most serious cases, appearing in court.

“It is about community safety, it’s about reduction of crime. It is about ensuring residents are safe. It is also about enforcement.

“People will not be allowed to get away with this kind of behaviour.”

Binspectors out on rubbish patrol

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Environmental enforcement officers say the project has been a success

The inspectors involved are armed with weapons that include warning letters and a fixed penalty of £80 for contaminating bins. Fines of up to £400 can be issued for fly-tipping or offenders can be sent to court to be given a heavier penalty.

The patrols were set up following a number of high-profile cases of fly-tipping in which rubbish was strewn across waste land in Telford borough.

The authority was joined by Shropshire Fire and Rescue, West Mercia Police and recycling collector Veolia this week as officers descended on Willowfield in Woodside.

It comes after generic warning leaflets were delivered and conversations were had to educate people on what to do and when to put bins out.

And on their return, the council was ‘pleasantly surprised’ with what it found, with just one potential fly-tip and an incident of domestic waste being dumped in a recycling bin.

Households caught breaking the rules will be advised on how to recycle correctly but could face a warning letter or fixed penalty notice if they fail to listen.

Paul Fenn, the council’s enforcement manager at Telford & Wrekin Council, was among those in Woodside at yesterday’s crackdown.

He said: “It’s all part of our four-week operation at looking at the top 10 streets for fly-tipping and environmental offences.

“We are coming to the end of the project now and we’ve physically gone out as a team into these top 10 streets to look at what the issues are, search through bags, investigate fly-tips and bring people to task to a certain degree.

“We’ve also had our borough-wide campaign among the new powers around fixed penalty notices for environmental crimes. So when we’ve come in we’ve been pleasantly surprised that we haven’t found many fly-tips and people seem to have been managing their waste.”

Earlier this summer, streets in Brookside, Randlay, Sutton Hill and Leegomery were visited by officers who looked at the contents of litter, bins and recycling bags and bins to see how well people were managing their waste and recycling. Notes were also made on fly-tipping.

Warning leaflets were sent out and officers spoke to residents on how to make the streets cleaner.

And just ‘a handful’ of residents across the borough have received warning letters since the start of the campaign and nobody has had a fixed penalty notice for domestic waste offences.

Council officers scour potential fly-tipping incidents to find the culprit. In one case, in Willowfield, Woodside, an address was identified courtesy of a Dominoes pizza box.

“We’re looking for something that’s got a name or address on, said Mr Fenn. “We have found a bit of evidence which associates it to a local property and will be carrying out an investigation on that.

“We keep an open mind on whether it might be fly-tipping or not, it’s based on the location of the waste, the address we find in the waste and the type of materials. It appears someone has made an effort to try and recycle but it’s mixed rubbish so is contaminated.

“We will go and speak to people if we can find some evidence. We will remind them what the bins should be used for, issue a warning letter but ultimately it needs to be emptied.

“If they don’t put the right rubbish in the right bin there are things we can do like issuing a warning letter or a fixed penalty notice.”

He added: “We looked at our overall fly-tipping statistics and the top ten streets and recognised we needed to do something. But we didn’t want to go in heavy handed, we want to give people the opportunity to change themselves.

“People don’t want to leave work, get home and see rubbish all over their garden green. You’ll be surprised at what people throw out in their normal domestic waste.”

Shropshire Fire and Rescue said deliberate streets fires could often be a consequence of fly-tipping.

Malcolm Stevenson, head of communications at Shropshire Fire and Rescue said it was good to see people seemed to have listened to the campaign, but is not convinced residents will continue to keep streets clean.

“All too often unfortunately a consequence of fly-tipping particularly we have to come out an put fires out because unfortunately some people do seem to enjoy setting fire to it if they see it in the street. he said.

“So it poses a very real risk and in some circumstances a danger as well, particularly if rubbish has been dumped in the street close to houses.

“The crackdown has shown things can improve, but I wouldn’t be completely confident that this is typical. We have just come to the end of a Bank Holiday so lots of people are away and the schools are on holiday.

“My guess is that we’re not seeing it as it perhaps normally is. But if it continued like this the fire service would be very pleased.”

Which bin do you use for what?

Purple top bin

Can take: Aerosols, food and drink cans, foil, glass bottle and jars, including the lids, plastic bottles of all types including lids, food trays and pots including black plastic, tubs, fruit and vegetable punnets – but please remove netting and film coverings.

Cannot take: Hard plastic such as toys, washing up bowls and buckets, bubble wrap, party plates and cups, plastic plant pots, polystyrene foam, plastic bags and cling film wrap.

Additional recycling that won't fit inside a purple top bin, can be presented inside suitable bags

Blue bag

Can take: Cardboard, catalogues, comics, greeting cards, junk mail, magazines, newspapers, phone directories like yellow pages, shredded paper, toilet/kitchen roll tubes

Cannot take: Wallpaper, waxed cardboard such as fruit juice and long life milk cartons.

Clear polythene bag

Can take: Batteries, curtains, low energy light bulbs, clean clothing, shoes, leather belts. All items must be separated.

Cannot take: Bedding, carpet, cushions, duvets, pillows, standard light bulbs, toys

Green bin

Can Take: Grass cuttings, dead flowers and plants, hedge clippings, leaves, prunings and cuttings, small branches

Cannot take: Dog and cat litter, food waste like vegetable peelings, tea bags, etc, nappies, old clothing, plastic, sacks or bin liners, soil and rubble, treated wood, turf

Red top bin

Anything that can't be recycled can go in your red top bin.

Food Waste

Telford & Wrekin Council will be introducing a weekly food collection service for all residents in 2019, when Veolia take over the remaining collection services.

Sophie Madden

By Sophie Madden
@SMadden_Star

Senior reporter based out of the head office in Ketley covering the Telford area.

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