Wyre residents outraged over 'unfair' damaged green bin charges

Wyre residents were furious after receiving a charge from Wyre Council for their damaged green garden waste bins, which they said were broken by binmen.

By Rebecca Beardmore
Thursday, 6th August 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th August 2020, 1:58 pm

The damage, mostly occurring as cracks down one or both sides of the bin, have been caused by "wear and tear," according to the council.

Green bins can expect to last between eight and 10 years, it said, and must be replaced by paying a delivery and administration fee of £23, plus £6 for a new sticker.

The charge is issued regardless of how it was broken, and is also implemented for lost or stolen bins.

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Thornton resident Lisa Martin received her green bin back from the binmen with two cracks down each side. She has been forced to tape the bin up after refusing to pay Wyre Council's "unfair" bin replacement charges.

But residents have hit back at claims the damage came as a result of wear and tear, and called the charges "unfair."

A Facebook post about the issue had over 600 comments from FY5 residents, who had the same problems with their bins.

Mum-of-two Lynsey Saxon, 44, lives on Brookfield Avenue in Thornton, and has refused to pay the charge for her green bin which she said was damaged by binmen.

Her green bin came back to the kerb after it was emptied with an irreparable crack down each side.

Lynsey Saxon, also from Thornton, received her green bin back from being emptied with identical cracks to each side. Many residents have reported the same issues, and are hitting back at Wyre Council's replacement charge of 23.

Lynsey said: "It's bizarre how many green bins are being broken at the moment. I've paid my council tax to Wyre for 20 years and have never asked for a replacement bin.

"It's not about the money for me, it's about the principle. It's completely unfair that despite the council telling me bins are it's property, we're being made to pay for the replacements.

"My bin went out one morning in May, and it was perfectly fine- it only had a bit of grass in it. Then the binmen brought it back to the kerb with huge cracks in it, so they obviously damaged it themselves.

"The council has now lost my annual green waste subscription, and I'm using my neighbour's bin which they said was fine. How many more subscriptions will they lose over this?"

Lisa McCaffrey's bin on Hampton Place in Cleveleys also displayed the same level of damage, after it was emptied by binmen. After being charged 23 for a replacement, she decided to cancel her green waste subscription.

Mrs Saxon added that was told she could have her damaged bin picked up for free, but it would still cost the £23 delivery charge to replace it.

Lisa Martin, 40, of Elmwood Drive in Thornton, had the same issues with her bin last month - it was damaged during the emptying process.

She said Wyre Council acknowledged that her bin was rotated on the truck as it was emptied causing the damage, but still classed as wear and tear, warranting a £23 replacement charge.

"My bin was only one third full of grass, and when it came back after being emptied there was a crack from top to bottom and the seal had been damaged," Lisa said.

"I don't see why we should be charged for another when just a few weeks before we had received a bigger blue bin for free.

"The council wants us all to recycle, but is it any wonder there is an increase in fly-tipping or people burning garden waste?

"If its claim is that these bins will only last eight to 10 years, then at some point everyone in Wyre will have to pay more money for another one, on top of subscription fees and council tax. I think it's wrong and I won't be paying it, I've taped mine up instead."

Coun Alan Vincent, councillor for Victoria and Norcross ward in Thornton said; "I am pursuing [a complaint] from a gentleman in Victoria ward.

"The costs associated with replacing a bin are, I’m told, considerably higher than the £23 administration and delivery charge.

"I have however requested a review, which I believe the relevant portfolio holder and officers will undertake.

"The replacement of the small blue bins with the larger bin was done because Wyre made a decision to spend £1 million improving our service, and therefore is a completely different issue to a damaged bin.

"We are dedicated to maintaining what is widely regarded as an excellent bin collection service."

Coun Callum Baxter, also for Victoria and Norcross ward, said: "We have recieved a significant number of complaints in relation to the charge for replacement bins when they are either broken or damaged, including by the councils contracted waste collectors.

"This is something we are looking into, in particular how the charge is explained to residents. The charge actually has two parts to it. The main being a delivery charge, as they have to be collected from, I believe, Liverpool.

"We could perhaps look into a collection service to help mitigate this. The second is an administrative fee, which is something that will need closer examination. We do not actually charge for the bin itself.

"Ultimately the council has tried to find a way to drive efficiency which is required with continuing cost pressures, but we don't always get everything right.

"We are willing to listen and will adapt where it is possible. Whilst this will not be something that can be achieved overnight, due to the current situation, I hope we will be able to improve things in the future."

Lisa McCaffrey, of Hampton Place in Cleveleys, was another Wyre resident who cancelled her £30-per-year green waste subscription after her bin was broken.

She said: "I was told repeatedly that the bin was council property, so why am I expected to pay to replace it?

"Clearly these bins aren't built to sustain the force used when they're emptied, or there wouldn't be so many being damaged in the same way.

"I understand that there have been budget cuts, but we pay council tax for these services."

A spokesman for Wyre Council said: "The charge for replacement bins covers the administration fee and delivery of the bin and forms part of the council’s agreed fees and charges that are approved annually by elected members."

Councillor Simon Bridge, portfolio holder for parks and open spaces said: "Now that we have been made aware of concerns from residents over damaged bins, we will look closely into what the cause of the problem is."