Rubbish service

I feel that we have been sold a pup, and it is frustrating to read the latest developments in the collection of rubbish bags by Stevenage Borough Council. When the system was originally changed from collection of the rubbish bag from the dustbin on the ho

I feel that we have been sold a pup, and it is frustrating to read the latest developments in the collection of rubbish bags by Stevenage Borough Council.

When the system was originally changed from collection of the rubbish bag from the dustbin on the householder's property, I was annoyed at the loss of convenience, but at least I could easily see how collecting the bag from the kerbside straight into the refuse vehicle could save money, which would hopefully be reflected in savings in the Council Tax.

Now it turns out that as well as the inconvenience of placing it at the kerbside within the timeframes specified by the council, once it is at the kerbside it is also now being handled twice - at Council Tax payers' expense.

May I suggest that the council consider changing the system to either collecting the rubbish bags from the dustbin on the householders' property, with the benefits of convenience to householders and preventing vermin, or to collecting the bags from the kerbside directly into the vehicle, with consequent cost savings.

I, for one, would happily pay a little more for the peace of mind of not having my rubbish exposed to vermin and not having to find a way of putting the rubbish out at the appointed time, and would not then mind whether the bags are handled once or twice before going into the collection vehicle!


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* Some years ago, I advised Stevenage Borough Council against asking people to put bin bags outside their property. Even worse was their suggestion to put bags out overnight. This would be anti-social and dangerous, I explained, and in breach if disability rights, health and safety, public order not to mention common sense. Of course, they did not listen but insisted that people put rubbish on pavements if they wanted it taken. Now they blame the householders -what hypocrisy!

The same council (or some similarly disordered people), I suspect, places logs across footpaths through woods thus causing aggravation to disabled people and putting them at risk. The reason, apparently, is to stop motorbikes whose riders can jump the logs, anyway, with delight. Unsurprising then, that this inconsistent council invites motorbikes on to cycle tracks putting children at risk.

Further still, I heard a council spokesman recently saying that Stevenage Borough Council never put phone masts in residential areas. There are five in walking distance of my house. Like their mentors at Westminster, these people never listen, deny everything and lie as they draw breath.

Tom Hulley, Vallansgate, Stevenage

* Three Bags full:

While I support the view that piles of refuse bags obstructing pavements is sometimes caused by residents I am sure it results more often from the routine adopted by the collection operatives. As I regularly work at home I am able to observe the antics of a one man advance party rushing round my neighbourhood on collection mornings to retrieve all the refuse bags and pile them up at convenient stopping points for the truck. Sometimes they are left in small piles which partially obstruct the pavement, sometimes they overspill onto the road, sometimes they are piled in front of parked vehicles, sometimes they remain there until the afternoon - but in any case they do force people, some with young children and prams, onto the road - a serious safety issue!

2. Does this practice of pre-collection and bag piling actually save any time? If one man is sent in advance to search and pile then the collection team with the truck is a man short for collecting. In the process every bag is handled twice and the risk of damage to bags, spillage is doubled. Alternatively, if the team stays together the truck can still stop at set points while the whole team helps to search, carry and load - surely this approach could actually save a little time and obstructive piles of bags would be avoided - or perhaps I have missed something?

3. I have every sympathy with the writer who complained about bags of refuse being split, inspected and discarded by collection operatives. Whenever I have seen this happen it has resulted in mess left on the street. Surely considerations of public health and hygiene must rule the day? To this end the Borough Council has a statuary obligation to collect and dispose of all household refuse. Part of this responsibility is the regular collection of bagged or binned household rubbish on a regular and efficient basis. I accept there is a need to encourage recycling practices provided they are convenient to the public and economical. However, no doubt for a variety of reasons, many people decide they will not sort their household waste and so continue to use a one-bag-for-all waste system. The household refuse operatives are not council officials - so who or what gives some of them the authority to inspect or discard our refuse?