Council threatens residents with £60 fine in rubbish letter

August 16, 2012 3:29 PM

Recycling rates in North East Lincolnshire aren't as high as the council would like. Other councils - such as Hull - are currently experiencing record rates of recycling, although when you look at their approach, you can probably see why.

For recycling schemes to work, they have to be simple. In Hull they certainly are. You now have the choice of three bins: one of non-recyclable waste; one for paper, cans, bottles, etc.; and one for food and garden waste. Hull has encouraged residents to recycle, and has not issued threats if you don't comply.

In a classic example of how not to do it, North East Lincolnshire Council has sent a letter to all residents threatening them with a £60 fixed penalty fine if they do not recycle their rubbish. The letter also goes on to say "the Council will be closely monitoring how waste is presented in your area over the coming weeks".

It also includes a long list of instructions on when to put your bins out, telling residents their bins will not be emptied if the lids are not in the closed position. Residents are also told what they can and cannot put in their green, blue and orange recycling boxes; their garden waste bin; and their refuse bin. They are told to wash out cans and bottles, and the letter ends with the following paragraph:
If you are already using this service correctly, thank you for supporting the Council's effort to recycle. For those that have not I would advise you that it is an offence to fail to place your waste in the right receptacles and from the 1st August the council will gather evidence and if necessary may issue a fixed penalty notice for £60 for those presenting waste incorrectly. This notice would be issued rather than commencing proceedings in court for the offence, but failure to pay a fixed penalty could result in court proceedings in respect of any offence committed.

So there you have it. If you accidentally place an incorrect item in the wrong container, the council will gather evidence and if necessary may issue you a fixed penalty notice for £60. Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, a resident from Cleethorpes said:
The way I read it they are going to be dealing out fines right, left and centre for not putting rubbish in the right bin and it is another money spinner for the council.

I recycle as much rubbish as I can, and so do my friends and neighbours. We have done this voluntarily, have been encouraged to do so by our councils, and have not received any threats from them either. If you start ordering people around, and threaten them in the way North East Lincolnshire Council has, you will end up will disgruntled residents who are more likely to dig their heels into the ground, not recycle, refuse to pay a fine, and clog up the courts.

Speaking on behalf of the council, Cllr Peter Wheatley said a fine is a very final resort, but that's not what the letter says, and we all know how inflexible council officers are when it comes to enforcing the rules. If North East Lincolnshire Council continues down this threatening route, expect to hear more about this story in the coming months.

[scribd id=103038335 key=key-2g8vv6a47ljr4qa399z6 mode=scroll]Recycling rates in North East Lincolnshire aren't as high as the council would like. Other councils - such as Hull - are currently experiencing record rates of recycling, although when you look at their approach, you can probably see why.

For recycling schemes to work, they have to be simple. In Hull they certainly are. You now have the choice of three bins: one of non-recyclable waste; one for paper, cans, bottles, etc.; and one for food and garden waste. Hull has encouraged residents to recycle, and has not issued threats if you don't comply.

In a classic example of how not to do it, North East Lincolnshire Council has sent a letter to all residents threatening them with a £60 fixed penalty fine if they do not recycle their rubbish. The letter also goes on to say "the Council will be closely monitoring how waste is presented in your area over the coming weeks".

It also includes a long list of instructions on when to put your bins out, telling residents their bins will not be emptied if the lids are not in the closed position. Residents are also told what they can and cannot put in their green, blue and orange recycling boxes; their garden waste bin; and their refuse bin. They are told to wash out cans and bottles, and the letter ends with the following paragraph:
If you are already using this service correctly, thank you for supporting the Council's effort to recycle. For those that have not I would advise you that it is an offence to fail to place your waste in the right receptacles and from the 1st August the council will gather evidence and if necessary may issue a fixed penalty notice for £60 for those presenting waste incorrectly. This notice would be issued rather than commencing proceedings in court for the offence, but failure to pay a fixed penalty could result in court proceedings in respect of any offence committed.

So there you have it. If you accidentally place an incorrect item in the wrong container, the council will gather evidence and if necessary may issue you a fixed penalty notice for £60. Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, a resident from Cleethorpes said:
The way I read it they are going to be dealing out fines right, left and centre for not putting rubbish in the right bin and it is another money spinner for the council.

I recycle as much rubbish as I can, and so do my friends and neighbours. We have done this voluntarily, have been encouraged to do so by our councils, and have not received any threats from them either. If you start ordering people around, and threaten them in the way North East Lincolnshire Council has, you will end up will disgruntled residents who are more likely to dig their heels into the ground, not recycle, refuse to pay a fine, and clog up the courts.

Speaking on behalf of the council, Cllr Peter Wheatley said a fine is a very final resort, but that's not what the letter says, and we all know how inflexible council officers are when it comes to enforcing the rules. If North East Lincolnshire Council continues down this threatening route, expect to hear more about this story in the coming months.

[scribd id=103038335 key=key-2g8vv6a47ljr4qa399z6 mode=scroll]

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