Council under fire over bin fine

A local authority which pursued a prosecution against a man who over-filled his wheelie bin has found itself lampooned in the national press.

Cumbrian local authority Copeland Borough Council issues a £110 fixed note penalty to Gareth Corkhill, 26, to which a further £115 was added after he failed to turn up to a court appearance.

Mr Corkhill has told reporter he doesn’t understand why he has been targeted, claiming he is a dedicated recycler and the capacity of council-supplied bins is inadequate.

Local authorities face a difficult job trying to balance their targets to reduce waste going to landfill against public perception, which tends to see attempts to control how households manage their waste as nanny-stateism.

In this case, the local authority had issued a first warning in July 2007 before contacting Mr Corkhill to discuss how he might reduce the amount of waste produced by his family.

Following further instances of overfilling the bin, the council issued a fixed penalty notice in January of this year.

Two weeks later, the council again wrote to Mr Corkhill giving him the opportunity to pay the fine and avoid a court appearance but he chose not to pay at that time.

“The council gave the resident a number of opportunities to avoid a criminal record, both before and after issuing the fine,” said a statement issued by Copeland Borough Council.

“The council, like many local authorities, aims to reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfill, and offers a range of recycling facilities to help our residents do this.

Local authorities failing to meet nationally-imposed waste reductions will face financial penalties.

“We must also enforce our waste policies to ensure that people do reduce the amount of waste they produce.

“If we do not follow the waste minimisation agenda that is being enforced nationally then we risk passing on major fines to all Copeland households.”

Sam Bond

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