Opposition leader’s fury at bin fines plan

Overflowing bins
Overflowing bins

A former mayor has hit out at proposals for council house tenants to be fined for putting rubbish in the wrong bins.

Coun Michael Winstanley, leader of the Conservatives on Wigan Council, said he was “totally opposed” to the plan.

Coun Michael Winstanley

Coun Michael Winstanley

It is in a report being presented to the council’s cabinet today on how the authority can boost levels to save funds.

Tenants who fail to recycle properly could receive section 46 notices, which if breached can result in on-the-spot fines and potential further legal action for refusal to pay.

Coun Winstanley said: “If the council adopts this proposal it will only be a matter of time before they look to extend this to private home owners. This policy is a Trojan horse to routinely fining home owners for rubbish indiscretions. We have already seen neighbouring authorities starting to charge for certain types of waste to be collected and this needs to be nipped in the bud.

“I do understand that we need to ensure that we meet our recycling rates to reduce the amount we pay in fines as part of the European directive. However I believe we need to approach this in a different way and it needs to be more carrot than stick. The council needs to win hearts and minds and take people with them. I am also concerned that a draconian approach will lead to more fly tipping which will be the worst of both worlds.

This policy is a Trojan horse to routinely fining home owners for rubbish indiscretions

Coun Michael Winstanley

“We also need to look at how we can recycle more of the waste that is currently disposed of by black bin bags.”

Paul Barton, the council’s assistant director for environmental services, highlighted that the review also recommended making recycling easier, increased education opportunities and considering incentivised recycling initiatives.