Call to enable Richmondshire communities to buy extra litter bins

Volunteers from Wensleydale Rotary Club litter picking at Aysgarth Falls.

Community leaders have backed a call to share the costs of tackling littering across a 509sq mile area.

Leading opposition councillor Councillor Ian Threlfall has tabled a notice of motion to a full meeting of Richmondshire District Council on Tuesday that the authority agrees to empty any extra bins that parish or town councils are prepared to pay for.

The Conservative Catterick and Brompton-on-Swale member said residents ranked littering among their biggest bugbears and it was time the Independent and Liberal Democrat-run administration honoured the Council Plan pledge for a Cleaner Healthier Richmondshire by paving the way for new infrastructure the district authority could not afford.

The council has placed an embargo on supplying additional litter bins to the 360 it already has in place across the district, partly because of the cost of collecting rubbish from the area.

While the authority has a team of ten staff who are assisted by several dedicated and committed volunteer litter pickers, opposition councillors said if the council was regularly collecting bags of litter that volunteers have gathered it might as well stop at regular points to empty new litter bins.

However, a recent officer’s report highlighted how research had shown a connection between the distance someone had to walk to a bin and the likelihood of littering, adding infrequent emptying schedules could also lead to increases in litter.

The report stated: “Litter lying on the ground encourages more litter to be dropped and so good binfrastructure is key.”

The report concluded locating as many bins as possible in suitable locations, which are well maintained, clean, attractive, clearly signed and regularly emptied would be key to reducing littering.

Councillor Threlfall, the authority’s former deputy leader, said: “It’s quite clear that litter is a problem up and down the country and a national education campaign might help to resolve it, but in the meantime there are still issues on the ground in local areas and at the moment the policy is not to put any more bins out.

“We are predominantly a tourist area and we have to present Richmondshire in the best possible way.

“People aren’t as careful as they used to be and some overnight lorries are a bit of an issue in what they leave behind.

“There is an increase in litter and an increase in complaints by the community about the litter.”

Aysgarth and District Parish Council chairman John Dinsdale said the proposed agreement would be welcome, saying the lack of bins in one village alone had seen dog walkers throwing bags of waste in a farm barn.

He added it had taken about ten years of efforts by the parish council to get the district council to replace a litter bin beside the River Ure at Wath Bridge and getting additional bins emptied had been an issue.

Councillor Dinsdale said the residents of Aysgarth and Thornton Rust collected litter strewn across roadsides twice every year, but staycations had seen a different type of tourist “who tends to drop more litter”, particularly by the Aysgarth Falls beauty spot.

He added finding sites that met the district council’s collection requirements and were also sufficiently close to littering hotspots would be difficult in some areas.