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Rethink over urban rubbish

PUBLISHED: 06:30 15 October 2011

Archant © 2009

THE transient population and narrow streets of Great Yarmouth’s most compact urban areas may be helped by a tweaked rubbish collection system.

Officials are looking at how council policy could be varied on rubbish collection in areas where the twin bin system and fortnightly collections are not working.

The usual two-pronged approach of education and enforcement is said to be having a limited effect in areas like Nelson ward which has a transient population, and where gathering evidence for prosecution was problematic.

Simon Mutten, service manager for environment, said the wheelie bin system introduced in 2004 was the most effective and efficient way to collect rubbish across the greater part of the borough with the vast majority of people complying with the message and producing low contamination rates.

But there were areas of the borough where people had more rubbish than they could fit into the provided bins and did not have the money to pay for a bulky collection or to take items to the recycling centre in Caister.

This, he said, had resulted in unwanted items being left on the street to be picked up by other collection crews.

In some urban parts a “chicken and egg” situation had evolved where refuse vehicles collecting daily from certain “hotspots” were perpetuating fly-tipping - the pick ups becoming so regular that people dumping rubbish there were arguably doing so responsibly as they regarded it as part of the service

Mr Mutten said the council was looking to see how it might vary the service to meet the needs of different areas.

With this in mind a trial of different options was carried out on the Barracks estate to see how residents would react and identify those who might have particular issues with their waste disposal, but the results were inconclusive.

The experience of taking a close look at the community had also triggered a re-think on the criteria the council used to issue more bins and extra large bins.

People living in the area were apparently happy with the service and had lodged few complaints, mainly because of the additional level of service which had evolved over the years to collect the waste and keep the streets clean.

“We will continue to work with residents as to how to inject variation in to the service within a finite resource,” he said, adding: “The conclusion we have come to is that we need to inject some variation in to the service. Quite what that is we need to bottom out. We do not want a two-tier service but we need varying conditions to meet varying needs. It has proved a very challenging intervention. Some cannot and some will not dispose of their rubbish in the way we would like them to and legally.”

Officials aim to present ideas to councillors about what the varied service would look like by the end of the year.

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