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Proposed charges for replacement bins look set to be thrown out

John Freeman
Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet will be recommended not to introduce new charges for the replacement of bins and boxes at their meeting next week - even though the cost of doing so has escalated at an alarming rate.

Next Tuesday, Cabinet members will consider a report on the possible introduction of charges due to the increasing costs of providing new bins and boxes to residents.

Between January 2011 and December 2011, a staggering 4,470 replacement bins, 4,332 replacement boxes and 5,000 replacement lids were delivered to householders.

The actual cost to the council was £110,000 and further costs are also incurred in administration, delivery and storage.

The current policy of replacing them for free means it is difficult to control this area of expenditure and this in turn creates pressures on the overall waste collection budget.

Currently, many other local authorities in Lancashire charge for replacement bins and boxes, with charges ranging from £10 in Blackburn for a replacement wheeled bin to £43.40 in Chorley.

However, Cabinet will be recommended to not introduce charges now and monitor the situation over the next 12 and see if it improves.

"This is a really important issue and we’ve now reached the situation where replacing bins and boxes for free is costing us more than £100,000 a year," said Coun David Smith, Cabinet member with responsibility for Environmental Services.

"That’s a huge cost to the council and means massive additional pressures on our waste collection budgets.

"However, at this stage Cabinet will be recommended not to introduce the charges and wait 12 months and see if it improves.

“I really hope it will encourage residents to take as much care as possible of their bins and boxes and number or label them so they can be found and returned if lost.

"Hopefully the situation will improve but if it doesn’t then costs will continue to increase and we will have to look again at the issue of charging."