Council plans U-turn on blue bin charges after criticism
HUNDREDS of West Lancashire residents have slammed the council’s decision to implement a new blue bin recycling system.
West Lancashire Borough Council has recently changed its policy with the blue box being phased out and residents being moved to the blue bin for recycling of their cans, bottles and jars.
When the blue bin was introduced it was free, and residents were given the option to continue using the blue box.
The recent change means the council will no longer accept the blue box, so residents will have to accept a blue bin – for a fee of £25.
The council originally set the deadline for being able to use a blue box as June 4, but this has now been extended to October because a report is set to go before the council at a meeting on July 18.
A spokesman said that “further updates will be released after that meeting”.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has said hundreds of frustrated residents have contacted her about the issue, which she described as an “absolute mess.”
She said: “Many residents tell me they don’t require a blue bin as they would never use anywhere near that amount of recyclable material over the course of a fortnight.
“Others say they can’t take a blue bin as they are a terraced property with no space for storage, and some even talk about having said no to the blue bin last time round thinking they would save the council money but are now being penalised for that decision.”
But council leader Cllr Ian Moran has now said that the meeting in July would result in the council changing the policy and providing blue bins free of charge.
He said: “The paper being put forward will suggest that residents will no longer be charged for the blue bins and those who have already paid will be refunded.
“I want people to know that we have listened to what they have had to say, and we are working to address it. I apologise for any inconvenience this has caused, and we are putting this right.”
In response to the complaints she received, Ms Cooper said: “I have written to the director of leisure and environment services on behalf of residents to ask that this situation be addressed and for those who are being forced off the box and on to the bin to not be forced to pay the associated charge.
“I’ve also written on behalf of residents who can’t use or store an extra full size bin so that they may be allowed to continue to use the box given their specific circumstances.”
According to the council, the decision to change to a blue wheelie bin, rather than a box, is to ensure that collection systems and resources are efficient and managed effectively.
A spokesperson said: “It is paramount that the collection system is consistent across the borough and that adequate capacity is available to residents to help increase our recycling performance to 50% by 2020. “This is why residents are now being asked to change to a blue bin from a blue box if they have not already done so.”