Communal bins rubbish in Byker

Communal bin issues mount up in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne

You will read elsewhere on this website the reasons why High West Jesmond Residents’ Association is opposed to the introduction of communal bins in our part of Newcastle and one of the reasons is that there is the potential for the rubbish to pile up – especially as the bins are only emptied once a fortnight.

There has been much discussion on our Facebook page on the subject of communal bins and here we show some recent images from Michael Milor of the impact of rubbish and communal bins elsewhere in Newcastle upon Tyne.

You can read more about this in the Facebook posting by Michael Milor.


Council to replace 1,200 litter bins with 800 new ones

New litter bins for High West Jesmond

After a recent review of citywide litter bins, Newcastle City Council has announced a planned 13-week programme to replace existing bins.

The review was aimed at identifying ways of improving the current litter storage and collection service across the city.

Newcastle presently has just over 2,100 litter bins and the council review highlighted areas where bins were in disrepair, being under used by the public, or were too small to meet demand.

The change in litter bins will impact High west Jesmond with some bins being replaced with larger bins; some resited; and some potentially fully removed.

800 less litter bins

The amount of bins will be reduced to 800 but the the council says that total capacity for holding litter will only fall by approximately 450 litres as the new stock of bins will be bigger in size.  

The council review also identified that in some areas street bins were being misused by traders and householders, who were using them for business and residential purposes. The new bins will initially be emptied weekly but the volume of waste will be monitored on a regular basis.

The city council also delivers the ‘Keep it Clean’ campaign, which is aimed at encouraging behavioural change amongst people who litter, fly-tip and don’t pick up after their pets in Newcastle. 

Cllr Nick Kemp, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Regulatory Services, (pictured above) said: “The new bins will be an asset to the city as the council tries to tackle the litter problem throughout Newcastle. The positioning and locations have been specially chosen using the knowledge gathered from our dedicated collection team – who recognise the litter hotspot areas.

“The new scheme of robust and solid bins makes it a far more effective collection service. The new bins will be located in areas where the most litter is generated, and are larger than the previous street litter bins. All of the efficiency changes are in line with the council’s green city agenda. 

“The review was aimed at providing answers to questions that will help us deliver a better service for residents. This coupled with our continued enforcement campaign that looks to deter people from dropping litter in the first place, and penalise those people who don’t care about the community in which they live or visit.”

The old citywide bins, once removed, will be recycled and reused.

For further information about the council’s ‘Keep it Clean’ campaign, please visit​​​​​​​

Photograph from Newcastle City Council website.

Be careful what you place in your rubbish bin

People are going through the rubbish for goods to sell on Ebay

The issue has recently been promoted by Newcastle City Council.

Watch the video to hear Neil Parsons, a recycling wagon driver explain more about this issue.

Newcastle City Council is looking for ideas from residents on how to tackle the problems of rubbish and has recently set up the Newcastle Waste Commission to consider this issue. You can read more on the Newcastle Waste Commission website.

High West Jesmond Residents’ Association does not believe that the planned rollout of further communal bins are part of the answer. Damage caused by people searching through communal bins for goods to sell on Ebay illustrated in the film is just one issue associated with communal bins and High West Jesmond residents are strongly opposed to the introduction of communal bins.

Communal bins to be imposed on residents?

General Election candidates asked for their views on communal bins

At the most recent meeting of High West Jesmond Residents’ Association a strong majority of residents expressed opposition to the proposed introduction of communal bins.

The reasons for the opposition included:

  • The ugliness of having large bins located in back lanes
  • The increased likelihood of fly-tipping around the bins
  • The inconvenience of having to take every bag of rubbish outside to a communal bin
  • Reduced access to garages and the back lanes generally
  • Possibility of increased crime as bins are used to gain access to property.

Residents’ Association made representations to council

The Residents Association has made representations to the council and specifically asked for the council to consult with residents on whether or not it is desirable to introduce communal bins in this area.

The council has so far refused to engage in any meaningful consultation with us and has stated they plan to introduce communal bins in all appropriate areas which, we believe, will include High West Jesmond.

We asked each of the candidates for Newcastle North to comment

Given this response from the council, we have written to all the candidates to be our local MP at the forthcoming General Election and asked them to outline their position on the issue of communal bins. Their responses are summarised below.

Duncan Crute (Conservative)

Newcastle City Council must conduct a thorough and detailed consultation with residents of High West Jesmond over the introduction of communal dumpsters. I am personally against the introduction of communal dumpsters for the following reasons:

  1. The residents of High West Jesmond pay their council tax and are entitled to have a wheelie bin collection, just like other residents throughout the city of Newcastle upon Tyne.
  2. It has been documented throughout other cities that Communal dumpsters attract fly tippers. Thus creating an environmental problem to deal with.
  3. The communal dumpsters smell bad, this in turn attracts rats, foxes and other vermin.
  4. Pensioners in other cities have complained they have to carry bags and rubbish for long distances and then lift heavy lids to dispose of their rubbish.
Anita Lower (Liberal Democrat)

I am opposed to communal bins unless residents fully support them. They are causing problems in the ward I represent with fly tipping and mess. I cannot see any advantage in imposing these on residents apart from cutting costs and I have seen no evidence that they do cut costs.

Timothy Marron (UKIP)

No response received.

Catherine McKinnell (Labour)

I know that the proposed roll-out of communal bins by the City Council is causing a good deal of concern amongst many High West Jesmond residents – and that’s why I have sought to represent these concerns to the Chief Executive, the relevant Cabinet Member and officers both formally in writing, and in meetings.

I am particularly keen to ensure that local residents are properly consulted before any such changes are introduced, and that the outcome of this consultation is taken into account when any final decisions are taken on this issue. I do not want to see such changes simply imposed on local residents, and will therefore continue to press the City Council for meaningful consultation on this issue. 

Brian Moore (Putting North of England People First)

I am opposed to the roll out of communal bins. The collection of rubbish is the one basic service that every resident sees the council deliver for them. Given the level of council tax in the city, every household should be able to expect this service. Communal bins have already been introduced in parts of the west end of the city and Heaton. Despite their claims to the contrary, the council’s consultation with residents was next to non-existent. I have been told that the communal bins simply lack the capacity to deal with all of the rubbish. 

The council claimed that communal bins would make back lanes less cluttered but the reality seems to be different with complaints of bins not being collected for 3 weeks and letters from streets away turning up in the back lane. This, combined with fly tipping, has made life miserable for many local people. 

Alison Whalley (Green) 

Our guiding principles on dealing with waste is the 3 R’s – Reduce the potential for waste, maximise the capacity for Repair and re-use, and invest in proper and effective Recycling schemes.

More specifically this is our approach to the introduction of communal bins in appropriate  areas:

  • The council should consult residents properly with an evidence- based approach. We definitely recognise that one size fits all is not a solution, but in respect of areas with back lanes the use of communal bins has been beneficial and litter problems have been reduced.
  • Most importantly, communal bins are introduced only after proper consultation and with the agreement of the majority of the residents.
  • There should be a good information campaign in advance of their introduction for the particular streets concerned and a repeat information campaign once the bins are in place.
  • Bins for recycling designed in such a way as to take appropriate items and to minimise the chance of general waste going into them.
  • Additional patrols for the first 4-6 weeks to ensure the bins are being used properly and to pick up any potential problems early.
  • An active programme to replace damaged/ illegible bins.
  • A repeat programme in the year especially at a time when new residents may arrive e.g. students.

Share your views with the cabinet member responsible for communal bins

High West Jesmond Residents’ Association will continue to attempt to engage with the council and would encourage any resident who feels strongly about this issue to write to the Newcastle City Council cabinet member responsible for this policy (Cllr Nick Kemp) at the following address

Step by step guide to downloading your bin calendar

Newcastle City Council guide on how to download bin calendar

We thought we would share this short video with you. Newcastle City Council have recently placed this on their YouTube channel and it explains how you can download the rubbish bin and recycling bin calendar.

The video is clear and helpful and shows you what the actual bin calendar looks like with collection dates in green and blue to match the colour of the wheelie bins (green for general rubbish and blue for recycling).

Sadly the two colours do not show up particularly clearly when printed in black and white if you are trying to save the pennies on colour printer ink – maybe Newcastle City Council will amend the colour scheme slightly to make this more clearly visible next year.

Here is the link to the bin calendar page on Newcastle City Council’s website.

Communal bins – make your voice heard

Strong opposition to communal bin proposal

At a recent meeting ofthe High West Jesmond Residents’ Association, residents expressed their strong opposition to the council’s proposal to intoduce communal bins in to the back lanes of High West Jesmond.

The main reasons for this opposition were as follows:

  • Loss of control over perconal bin space for litter
  • Likely increase in fly tipping
  • Environmental blight in the back lanes
  • Cleanliness (nobody would be responsible for cleaning the bins)
  • Increased risk of intruders using the bins to break in to properties
  • Reduced access to properties from the rear lanes
  • Concem, especially from older residents, about having to go outside their
    house each time they want to put rubbish out.
Council says it will save money

The council’s stated rationale for introducing communal bins is cost saving – but from the infomation that we have been able to obtain we are led to believe that the actual cost savings would be minimal and the one-offcosts ofmaking the changes would outweigh the projected savings for some time.

It’s clear that residents of High West Jesmond do not want communal bins imposed upon them.

Make you voice heard

The final decision is likely to be taker at the council’s budget meeting on 1 March 2017 so it’s important to move quickly to make our feelings clearly heard.

If you want to express your opposition to the introduction of communal bins then please do the following:

Write or send an e-mail to Councilor Nick Kemp (who is the Newcastle City Council cabinet member responsible for communal bins) telling him of your strong opposition to the proposal for High West Jesmond and stating your reasons. His contact details are below:

Write or send an e-mail to Catherine McKinnell MP (our Newcastle North MP) telling her of your strong opposition to the proposal for High West Jesmond and stating your reasons. Her contact details are below:

Catherine McKinnell MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

High West Jesmond Residents’ Association will continue to support the huge majority of residents who have expressed opposition to this proposal, but it will be extremely helpful if individual residents also write directly to the councillor and our MP to demonstrate the strength of feeling on this issue.