MEP says council bully tactics will not work

UK Independence Party Wigan Parliamentary candidate and Wigan branch chairman Alan Freeman
UK Independence Party Wigan Parliamentary candidate and Wigan branch chairman Alan Freeman

A EURO MP is demanding an inquiry into Wigan’s council ‘bin snooper’ scandal.

Paul Nuttall MEP was called in today to investigate by borough UKIP chairman Alan Freeman who has now revealed he also received one of the Council’s “threatening” letters posted to his Newtown home.

And he says he also witnessed council officials sifting through the contents of wheelie bins at the end of his alley.

The outspoken MEP blames European landfill tax legislation for the council’s proposed move to controversial fortnightly collections which he claims will create a disease and vermin hazard.

And he says this rules are behind the “heavy handed and outrageous” warning they may prosecute residents for failing to recycle.

Council environmental education and enforcement manager Cuthbert Jackson said it “wasn’t unreasonable” to remind residents of their responsibilities.

And the communication to residents has a factsheet reminding residents of the different types of waste that must be put into the black, brown and green bins, along with the waste paper sack.

He added that the communication was a standard letter sent to households.

Mr Jackson insisted: “The letter was a general letter delivered to all properties in the surrounding area because of concerns about bin fires and fly-tipping.

“In no way are we targeting any residents as individuals and we are absolutely not snooping on anyone.

“Some councils issue Fixed Penalty Notices when people break the rules on collections, but Wigan Council’s policy is to provide residents with a calendar and a duty of care letter before any formal notice is issued, and well before any enforcement action is taken by fixed penalty notice or prosecution.”

But Mr Freeman, who lives in Victoria Street, said that he had contacted the council himself after seeing our front page report and was told that the letter only followed a campaign of “recycling leaflets and booklets” sent to the residents.

But he claims not to have received any such literature for at least a year.

Mr Freeman said: “A few months ago I stumbled on two well dressed men in our rear alleyway.

“I unlocked the gate and encountered the men, who had Metro badges on, but never introduced themselves and did not look friendly.

“Both wore gloves and seemed to be looking for some-one’s personal data in the wheelie bin. I didn’t confront the men, but I was disturbed by the incident.

“I am a supporter of recycling, but bullying and fines are not the answer.

“We live in a democracy and people should be encouraged in a reasonable and proper manner, and understand that pensioners and sick people need proper support, not bullying tactics.”

Wigan UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall, says the council are obliged to follow Euro Waste Directives dating back to 1999 over the amount of rubbish going to landfill.

And failure to obey these directives would result in massive fines for the council so, as such, Wigan Council can no longer decide its own waste disposal policy.

He said: “I am outraged that the council is rummaging through people’s bins, which is the nightmare of Big Brother come to life and spying on citizens in this way is absolutely wrong.”