The extension of the controversial monthly black bin collection has seen a sharp rise in the number of complaints and queries made to Banbridge Council’s Technical Services, the Leader can reveal.
The department dealt with 163 issues during the initial phase of the trial introduced in November of last year.
But this figure has soared to 458 issues in just the first month of the extended trial which started last month, on August 18.
While the council has pointed out that these recorded issues are for all officially recorded waste collection and recycling issues and not just those relating to the pilot scheme, it is nonetheless indicative of a rise in concern over the trials.
In the initial phase of the scheme a change to the bin collection service for two of the collection routes – one urban and one rural was introduced, which saw 1,500 homes receiving a four weekly black bin collection service, with continued two weekly collections of the green and brown recycling bins.
Since this the council announced that the bin collection trial was so successful it was extending the scheme across a number of additional bin collection routes, to include a further 14,000 ratepayers homes.
Ratepayers have expressed concerns via a number of platforms such as social media sites including the council’s own Facebook page. Two petitions are also available for ratepayers to sign, one online and one paper, however a group of campaigners hoping to bring their grievances directly to council have so far been unsuccessful.
The group requested 100 seats be reserved for members of the public at the next meeting on October 6.
The council responded saying that while the council chamber can occasionally accommodate up to 60 people seated to attend a function, this would not be possible at a working council meeting where the restrictions of civic furnishings and the requirements to accommodate council members, officers and press, restrict public access.
They did however, offer to accommodate up to 12 members of the public in a deputation.
The Council, keen to press ahead with the trial, is continuing to stress that with over £40m of ratepayers’ money haemorrhaging out of Northern Ireland every year to the Exchequer in London through landfill tax, it is determined to minimise the amount of its own ratepayers’ hard earned cash that is included in that figure.
With over 80% of all household waste readily recyclable using the green and brown bins provided to every household in the Banbridge District, the Council is urging every householder to give the trial a go.