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