Council at the centre of bin protest storm

Councillor Paul Rankin
Councillor Paul Rankin

Banbridge council is at the centre of a growing storm of protest over its plans for a monthly black bin collection.

Ratepayers have been contacting the Leader and taking to social media to voice their anger over the extension to the pilot scheme, aimed, says the council, at increasing recycling and reducing rates.

Councillors have again asked people to give the scheme a chance but literally thousands of local people have voiced their opposition to the plan.

Over 1,500 people went onto Banbridge Area News, a social networking site, to air their complaints about the scheme.

However, councillors have urged those ratepayers who are not happy with the new bin collection to instead contact the council. Councillor Paul Rankin said, “I am not a cheer leader of this scheme but am more of a listening ear. Some are clearly unhappy about it. I have urged those who are not happy to contact me. I have so far received just six complaints.

“Less than two per cent of ratepayers have already contacted the council. Therefore over 98 per cent of people are not complaining about the scheme.

“The council need to hear their views in order to do something about their complaints. The council can come out and assess their situation and offer them more bin capacity.

“There is no point in people going onto social networking sites and voicing their complaints. I do not know even if these people are genuine ratepayers. The council needs a name and address in order to contact them and address their issues.”

“Complaints need to go through the right channel. Few people are actually doing that.”

Independent Unionist MLA John McCallister who attended an information session in Rathfriland recently said, “From what I’m being told, the pilot scheme which has been running in other parts of the district, attracted very few complaints – so therefore council officials take it that its a success and its working.

“There are five in my family and we have two children in nappies, but I was reassured that if the nappies are contained in proper nappy sacks and the bin is closed then there should not be odour problems.

“Council staff remain confident that if all recyclable waste is placed correctly into the green and brown bins, that 240 litres of black bin space spread over a four week period, has been proven to be adequate for the remaining small fraction on non-recyclable waste.”

He added, “I pride myself on being a pro-active recycler - but learned a lot at the information session especially about aerosol cans etc. Therefore I would encourage as many people as possible to try and attend future sessions.

“This scheme is all about saving money. I am confident that if this pilot works and savings are made, then the scheme will be rolled out right across the province. We can all play a part in this, but at the same time, concerns and problems must be highlighted and tackled.”