Disgust at North Herts bins’ chronic overflow, a year on from dog waste decision

PUBLISHED: 13:28 11 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:42 11 May 2018

Just one example of the overflowing bins in Hitchin, near where Lucas Lane meets Redhill Road. Picture: @jmallugs via Twitter

Just one example of the overflowing bins in Hitchin, near where Lucas Lane meets Redhill Road. Picture: @jmallugs via Twitter

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Overloaded public bins across North Herts are left “heaving and stinking to high heaven” for days amid scant collections, a year on from the removal of many of the district’s dog poo bins.

An overflowing bin in Grays Lane, Hitchin. Picture: Leigh ChildsAn overflowing bin in Grays Lane, Hitchin. Picture: Leigh Childs

North Herts District Council last April removed 180 of its 432 dog poo bins in a bid to save money, with dog owners told to use the regular litter bins instead.

The district council said at the time that any impact from this would be offset by 80 new bins and more regular emptying – but Rachel Campbell from the Clean Up Hitchin project told this paper the bins’ removal had led to “regular, disgusting overflow”.

The situation was particularly bad last week, she said.

An overflowing bin at King George V Playing Fields, Hitchin. Picture: Min HarperAn overflowing bin at King George V Playing Fields, Hitchin. Picture: Min Harper

“We’ve seen hideously overflowing bins before after sunny days and bank holidays, but this wins top prize,” she said.

“Countless overflowing bins across Hitchin, still heaving and stinking to high heaven on a Wednesday after bank holiday.

“The district council should be able to pre-empt this kind of situation and plan ahead to prevent it happening. It’s not rocket science. Hitchin is a positive community where people generally want to do the right thing and exist in clean and healthy shared spaces. But we need the council to do their bit.”

An overflowing bin at King George V Playing Fields, Hitchin. Picture: Min HarperAn overflowing bin at King George V Playing Fields, Hitchin. Picture: Min Harper

Rachel said the district council often takes days after a report to empty an overflowing bin.

Her sentiments were echoed by Letchworth Wilbury councillor Gary Grindal and Hitchin Bearton councillor Ian Albert, both from the Conservative-run council’s Labour group – and the latter has called for an urgent review of how often some bins are emptied.

“We want some immediate reassurance that as part of the new contract with Urbaser, we have built in the automatic flexibility that bins need emptying more frequently around weekends and holidays,” he said.

An overflowing bin at King George V Playing Fields, Hitchin. Picture: Min HarperAn overflowing bin at King George V Playing Fields, Hitchin. Picture: Min Harper

Councillor Michael Weeks, who is responsible for waste, recycling and the environment at the district council, has apologised for the rise in overflowing.

“Urbaser has just started delivering waste and recycling services across the district and we are confident the service will improve,” he said.

“Litter bins that continue to be problematic will be logged and we will be working with Urbaser to identify and reschedule the frequency of collections to ensure they are maintained to a satisfactory level.”

If you see an overflowing bin, report it to the district council on 0800 328 6023.

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