Stoke-on-Trent residents to pay for lost or damaged wheelie bins
RESIDENTS face being charged for losing or damaging their wheelie bins – after a council spent £32,000 replacing them in a year.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is drawing up plans to make householders pay for new bins after handing out 1,800 free replacements in just 12 months.
Families in Newcastle and the Staffordshire Moorlands are already charged around £30 for a replacement bin from their council.
Now the city council is set to follow suit by charging for the replacement of 'burnt, lost or damaged' bins.
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The charge will not be imposed if residents can prove their bins have been damaged by bin men or stolen.
Resident Margaret McDonald, aged 68, of Tunstall, said: "I've never heard of someone breaking or losing a bin. I cannot believe it could cost so much to replace."
The city council's bin service is under pressure to save £395,000 this year with some recycling collections scrapped and drivers forced to leave their cabs with the engine running to help labourers at the kerbside.
Strike action was called off after plans to cut pay were shelved, but workers have staged an unofficial 'go slow' over their workloads.
The council pays £17.95 for a standard 180-litre wheelie bin, although it could charge more for any replacements.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council charges £31.62 for a replacement bin, while Newcastle Borough Council charges £30 unless the bin is damaged by its staff or stolen.
But Cheshire East Council has racked up a huge £331,621 bill for replacing 18,191 bins in the last three years – and has no plans to impose charges.
City Councillor and City Independents leader Dave Conway, who represents Little Chell and Stanfield, said: "The council has to be very careful.
"Our bins go out on a Thursday, but because of this work-to-rule they aren't being collected until Fridays.
"If someone has to leave their bin out overnight and it goes missing then it isn't fair to charge them. If they have damaged their own bin it's a different scenario."
City council officials are considering introducing the charge as they start work on setting next year's budget.
Councillor Andy Platt, cabinet member for green enterprises and clean city, said: "Discussions are in their infancy but options are currently under consideration with regards to charging for bins under certain circumstances."