My word! Council to think again over hard-hitting waste warning
WHEN notices went up in Cheltenham last month warning people they could be fined £50,000 and jailed for wrongly leaving rubbish at recycling centres, it seemed like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
The borough council was criticised by some members of the public for potentially putting people off taking material to be recycled at its banks around the town.
Bosses came under fire for the ‘polite notice’ that was put up at the council’s eight recycling sites. It warned that any- one leaving their rubbish incorrectly could be fined up to £50,000.
The notice said: “Please ensure that all recyclable items are fully put into the appropriate skip.
“Any waste items left around the skips will be treated as fly-tipping. If the skip is full, please take your waste to another bring site or back to your home address.
“The maximum penalty can be a fine up to £50,000 and/or six months’ imprisonment.”
The notice also warned that the areas were being monitored by CCTV.
It led to a string of complaints from people saying the council was clamping down on those who were simply responding to its appeal to recycle more of their waste, and there was a danger that this might stop some residents from doing so.
And now, it seems, council officials agree they might have made a mistake.
A council spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately we have ongoing issues with rubbish being dumped or fly-tipped around our recycling bank sites.
“Notices were put up four weeks ago at the eight bring bank sites in Cheltenham. The notices have been taken down to review the wording as we do not want to discourage recycling, but we need to send a message to those that are dumping non-recyclable waste by the bring banks as this is fly-tipping.
“This is part of wider council action to try to prevent fly-tipping, which is damaging the amenity of the town.
“There are various hotspots for this activity around town, including the bring sites. The council investigates all cases of reported fly-tipping and where sufficient evidence is obtained, will pursue legal action against the perpetrators.”
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The borough council faces a balancing act between deterring fly-tippers while encouraging recycling