Theft of wheelie bins, and associated arson, costs Salford taxpayers almost £2 million every year. Wheelie bin fires are also dangerous, waste the fire services time and risk lives.
We need residents help to tackle this problem. By putting your bin out on the street only when necessary, this problem can be reduced.
How much does bin theft or arson cost the council and fire service?
The cost is very high.
Approximately three and a half thousand wheelie bins are reported missing or stolen every year. At the cost of £20 per wheelie bin that is £70,000 annually. Each time the fire service is called out for a wheelie bin fire it costs £1,900. With over 900 call outs a year that is costs more than £1.7 million every year.
It is not, however, just about the cost to the taxpayer. Wheelie bin fires pose a real safety risk and is a problem that we take very seriously.
What are residents being asked to do?
We can't tackle this problem effectively without your help.
By putting your bin out on the street only when necessary and bringing it in as soon as possible after collection, you can help reduce the likelihood of bins being stolen.
We ask that you do not put your bin out before 7.00pm the night before collection and that you collect it by 11.00pm on the day of collection. This is a legal requirement and is your responsibility.
People who persistently leave their bins out outside of this timeframe risk a fine.
What if I only have the opportunity to put my bin out before 7.00pm/collect it after 11.00pm?
We have set the times to take into account different working hours and in consideration of those residents who are more limited in when they can take their bins in or out. This 28-hour ‘window' is, in fact, longer than other authorities allow.
We encourage people to join forces with their neighbours and help each other out in bringing in or taking out wheelie bins if the times do prove restrictive.
Why fine people rather than trying to catch the criminals who steal wheelie bins or set fire to them?
We will actively pursue prosecutions of people who steal wheelie bins. However, by encouraging people to take better care of their wheelie bins we are helping remove a target of anti-social behaviour and crime which will help free the authorities up to pursue more serious crimes.
Our overriding aim is to educate people about the issues of wheelie bins being stolen and what they can do to reduce the problem.
In areas where we have specific education programmes such as in parks and schools, wheelie bin thefts have already reduced by 20%. We aim to continue with these initiatives alongside the new legal requirements.
Fining is a last resort. We will only issue a fine when a resident fails to heed at least two prior written warnings.
How will the enforcement work?
We are taking a ‘common sense' policy with regards to enforcing this scheme.
There will not be patrols of officers dedicated to ‘policing' bins. Salford City Council's environmental crime officers and waste awareness officers will be on the look out while they go about their normal business.
If someone leaves their wheelie bin out we will write to them first. If they ignore this first warning we will write to them a second time. We would only consider imposing a fine if both warnings are ignored.
Officers will not be targeted on issuing fines and they will be reserved as a last resort.
How much is the fine and where will money from the fines go?
The fine is £100 as recommended by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Any fines collected will be put back into the service to allow us to continue education work to improve the environment, and to allow us to carry out extra environmental improvements across the city.