£1,000 fine for leaving bins out too long

Caroline Cassidy

We've heard of councils fining people who don't put their rubbish and recycling out correctly - but now it seems you could be in trouble for not bringing your bin back in after it's been emptied.

Wheelie bins
Wheelie bins

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Residents in Bedford have been warned they face a £1,000 fine if they leave their wheelie bins out on the pavement for longer than 24 hours after they've been emptied.

The council letter, which was sent out to 65,000 homes in the borough, says the bins are a danger to the visually impaired.

While most people would agree that bins left on the street are a nuisance, a £1,000 fine seems rather excessive. Just four weeks ago, the Government condemned huge council fines as 'clearly disproportionate' and promised a new law to prevent councils from being able to charge them.

Unsurprisingly, the threat has been rubbished by many of the town's residents.

Matthew Hipkin, 37, told the Daily Mail: "It's an absolute waste of council money and time to have people walking the streets checking if someone has put their bin away.

"I understand the principle of keeping the streets clean but the council has put across its point in the wrong way. It is being way too heavy-handed."

A spokesman for Bedford Borough Council said: "We've been working with Sight Concern Bedford and the Royal National Institute of Blind People to encourage households to put their wheelie bins away, to help make pavements safer for blind and partially sighted people.

"Where we receive reports of households repeatedly leaving out bins which can cause problems to such people, the council will write to the households concerned and advise that this is an offence for which they may ultimately be fined."

Last month, the Government set out their Waste Review (which controversially failed to bring back weekly bin collections) and said of £1,000 fines: "It cannot be right for this kind of threat to be hanging over householders."

£1,000 is the biggest possible fine under the 1990 Environmental Protection Act – and is 12 times greater than on-the-spot penalties handed out to shoplifters.

What do you think? Should the Government put a stop to councils handing out such huge fines? Leave a comment below...