£160,000 yearly bill to restore 330 litter bins axed across Falkirk

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A Falkirk councillor has been told that a request to bring back 330 litter bins that were removed as part of a review would cost over £160,000 a year.

Lower Braes councillor John McLuckie raised the issue at a meeting of Falkirk Council’s Scrutiny committee, where councillors of all parties questioned how well the new litter strategy is working.

Following complaints of litter bins overflowing, Mr McLuckie was told that 330 bins had been removed following a service review.

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And, he was told, it would not be straightforward to replace them.

Rubbish littering around a binRubbish littering around a bin
Rubbish littering around a bin

The cost of the actual bins would be £55,000, while employing four members of staff to empty them would cost a further £108,000 every year.

There would also be the expense of £55,000 for extra vehicles, plus annual maintenance as well as an additional £50 per bin every year for bags.

The council would also be charged for disposing of waste at £100 per tonne, bringing the total to £165,000.

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At the Scrutiny committee, councillors from all of the political parties asked for more information about how the recently approved litter strategy was working.

Councillor John McLuckieCouncillor John McLuckie
Councillor John McLuckie

In particular, they questioned why there was not more enforcement to ensure that everyone was playing their part in reducing litter.

Mr McLuckie had obtained figures from the service showing that only five penalties were handed out for littering and six for dog fouling last year in Falkirk.

There were, however, 121 fines issued for flytipping, which could potentially carry a fine of up to £40,000 if it goes to court.

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The problems of bins not being emptied reached a crisis point during lockdown, when staff absences were high, while those who could work had to keep a two-metre distance.

It was also strongly suspected that people who were working from home and found their own bins filling up quickly were using public bins to get rid of waste, leading to them overflowing even more quickly than usual.

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But despite services beginning to return to normal, for many constituents the blight of litter remains a priority, councillors felt.

Grangemouth councillor David Balfour said he was still getting a lot of complaints about litter from all over the town and asked what more could be done about enforcement.

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Denny & Banknock councillor Jim Blackwood added: “I’ve never met anyone on a litter pick who actually drops any litter.”

He agreed that there should be more emphasis on enforcement to “get to the heart of it”.

Acting director of planning Ian Dryden said it was a balance between working with communities and using enforcement where needed.

He said: “As a result of the pandemic, we’ve had a lot closer relationship with businesses and communities and that’s something we want to continue,

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“We all have to do things differently and adapt as an authority and it would be a key strand to work in partnership with others and pool resources, where we can.”

He told the committee that he would provide more answers to all of their question and it was agreed that a report will be brought to the next meeting.

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