Council broke bins promise then issued fine

Eleanor Darroch claims the council said her extra rubbish would be picked up. Picture: Jon Savage
Eleanor Darroch claims the council said her extra rubbish would be picked up. Picture: Jon Savage
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A WOMAN with too much rubbish for her wheelie bin was hit with a £50 fine – after the city council’s refuse department broke its promise to collect the excess waste.

Eleanor Darroch was told repeatedly a bin lorry would pick up black rubbish bags from the pavement outside her home in Oxgangs Green. Instead, two environmental wardens arrived at her door and handed her an instant fine.

Ms Darroch, 48, said a backlog of rubbish had built up after she had a series of visitors staying with her and it would not all fit in her bin.

When she first put out extra bags a couple of weeks ago, she got a card through the door saying they would not be picked up in line with the council’s collection policy.

When she phoned and said she was waiting for a larger, family-size bin, the council agreed to pick up extra bags as part of the regular Thursday collection and she left them on the pavement as instructed.

Ms Darroch said: “They said they would come and take away the excess rubbish and the man said he would put it on the computer so they would know, because they would not normally take it. But when I got home, they had emptied the bin but not taken the rubbish on the pavement.”

Ms Darroch said she then had a call from an environmental warden on the Friday, who said she had until last Tuesday to get the rubbish cleared.

“When I phoned the refuse people on Monday, they assured me they would come and pick it up, but they didn’t.

“I phoned twice on Tuesday and again they said they would pick it up, but nothing happened. The last time I phoned, on Wednesday, I was told they worked until 10pm so they would probably be round later to collect it.”

At 6.30pm, two environment wardens arrived and handed Ms Darroch a £50 fine.

She said: “I tried to explain that I had phoned six times that week, but they were not interested.”

She said she would appeal, adding: “I can’t afford it. I only work part-time and £50 is a lot of money to me.”

“It doesn’t seem fair that the council told me to put it out on the street and then they have fined me for it.”

The council said it had told Ms Darroch she could put out five rubbish bags, but in fact she had put out between 15 and 20. It also claimed she did not qualify for a family-sized bin.

Ms Darroch accepted she had put out more than five, but pointed out almost a week had passed in the meantime, and the council had not picked up any bags at all.

A council spokesman said: “We were going to pick up the excess waste this resident reported on the understanding that she was waiting for a new bin.

“However, it turned out that she had the appropriate bin and had put out far more waste than she reported, which is why she received a fixed penalty notice.”