‘Unfair’ bin fines pursued with ‘haste’

Bin woe
Bin woe

WIGAN Council has been accused of rushing through fines against residents for not bringing their bins in promptly.

The council pursued four fines of between £60 and £200 at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court in 2014 against residents for failing to take their bin in promptly, according to Hindley resident Dave Culshaw.

If you look through the court lists people are given more trivial fines for stealing from supermarkets than leaving a bin out

Dave Culshaw

He has criticised the council and says they hastily pursued the fines before the law changed, preventing local authorities from fining residents for ‘breaches of confusing, arbitrary and unfair town hall bin rules’.

The Deregulation Bill was announced in 2013 by Eric Pickles, the then minister for communities and local government, but did not come into force until June 2015.

The new laws mean that councils can now only fine people for fly tipping or causing rubbish to build up.

Mr Culshaw said: “What is interesting in Wigan’s case is that despite the provisions of the Deregulation Bill which were clearly published on July 1, 2013, Wigan Council chose to proceed against four individuals under Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act despite its imminent amendment.

“It may be concluded that given awareness of the bill, unseemly haste was used by the council to secure trivial convictions before the act came into force.

“One of the fines issued in 2014 was to someone who put rubbish in someone else’s bin which I think it is fair enough but the other four are just not on at all.

“If you look through the court lists people are given more trivial fines for stealing from supermarkets than leaving a bin out.”

The fines in total came to £595 but each person also had to pay court costs of £200 and a £20 victim surcharge.

But Wigan Council has insisted it was just enforcing the rules as they were at the time.

Paul McKevitt, Wigan Council’s deputy chief executive, said: “We aim in the first instance to work in co-operation with members of the public to help them recycle successfully.

“Our policies are under constant review and we are always looking to improve how we work with our residents as part of The Deal.”