West Lothian bins left lying for weeks in Blackburn suddenly lifted after Evening News call

Mother of four reveals previous meetings with West Lothian Council were useless
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Communal bins serving 17 houses in West Lothian which had not been uplifted for nearly more than a month were emptied by the local council today, just hours after the Evening News contacted the local authority.

The binmen had previously refused to uplift the bins in Blackburn due to the mess caused by seagulls ripping open bin bags and leaving litter around the bin area.

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Residents at Rowan Terrace were up in arms about the state of the bin area and the smell it causes, particularly during hot summer days. And they are still angry that there are only six bins serving the 17 homes.

Discarded rubbish next to the communal black bins in Blackburn.Discarded rubbish next to the communal black bins in Blackburn.
Discarded rubbish next to the communal black bins in Blackburn.

Mother of four, Aimee Robertson, 27, who is a full-time carer for her disabled child, told the Evening News this morning, before the bins were uplifted at lunchtime, that despite meetings with the council nothing had been done for nearly two months.

She said: “We went eight weeks at the beginning of the year with no bins being emptied at all because there is rubbish around the bins. But them not picking up the bins is causing the problem. I have been to meetings with the council but nothing helps.

"It has been a problem again for the past four to six weeks again, no uplifts. It stinks and it’s dirty, there are sanitary products, nappies, food waste, just lying around.

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"We have only got three blue and three black bins for 17 homes, so there is not enough capacity anyway. The external contractor who is sent out to clean up the area around the bins, who is here most weeks, said we have not got enough bins and told the council that.

The discarded bins in Blackburn, that weren't uplifted for weeks until today.The discarded bins in Blackburn, that weren't uplifted for weeks until today.
The discarded bins in Blackburn, that weren't uplifted for weeks until today.

"I don’t go too close because of the smell. It’s that bad the kids can’t get out and play. But there has got to be something in there, like rats. It’s worse in the summer when it’s hot.

“It doesn’t help when the seagulls come and rip open the bin bags, eat what they want and leave the rest all over the place.”

Aimee said residents felt like they are “invisible” and had been “forgotten about” by the local authority.

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She said: "The last meeting was at the turn of the year, when they said a new meeting would take place early this year but nothing happened.

The mess left by the council at Rowan Terrace, Blackburn in West Lothian for more than a month until today.The mess left by the council at Rowan Terrace, Blackburn in West Lothian for more than a month until today.
The mess left by the council at Rowan Terrace, Blackburn in West Lothian for more than a month until today.

"We have just been forgotten about. We are invisible here.

"There was a bad fire here last year and nothing was really done about it. People were leaving their rubbish at the front door because they can’t get to the bins and kids set fire to them.”

After the bins were suddenly uplifted today, a delighted Aimee said: “I’m glad they are now away. Obviously I hope they keep on top if it now and I don’t have to go to the paper everytime they are not picked up for weeks. But it shouldn’t have got to this stage.

"And while the bins have been taken, there is still all the mess around the bin area, so they will have to send someone out to clear the mess up.”

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A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “The issues are caused by individuals dumping materials in the communal bin storage area, either out with the bins or in the wrong bins leading. This means we are either unable to safely access the bins to empty them or uplift contaminated bins if we can reach them.

“Strict rules are now in place to cut down on bin contamination rates in West Lothian and contaminated bins will not be uplifted. Placing the wrong material in your bins can cause problems at the recycling facility where materials are processed. Contaminated material can't be separated or cleaned, meaning whole bin lorry loads can end up being disposed of rather than recycled. This is very harmful to the environment and is expensive to dispose. Recycling helps protect the environment and ensures limited council resources can be targeted on essential services rather than expensive landfill costs.

“It is recognised that further intervention is required in order to reduce the number of incidences of contamination and subsequent dumping of excess waste onsite and to try and encourage residents to use the bins and storage area responsibly.

“The council will continue to engage with the residents to try to find a long-term resolution, with specialist clearances required in the past on several occasions to allow our to staff safely access the bin stores and resume normal collections.”