The cost of emptying extra litter bins in Richmondshire is to be examined after councillors voted in favour of allowing town and parishes to install more bins.
A full Richmondshire District Council meeting also heard calls for takeaway outlets to be made to provide bins and for a national anti-littering campaign as members of the authority agreed in principle to collect waste from any additional bins the district’s 54 town and parish councils think are necessary.
Members of Independent and Liberal Democrat-run authority backed a notice of motion by Conservative councillor Ian Threlfall, who said it was important to recognise that “the culture of litter” had changed since the days when people repeatedly used their own food containers and flasks.
Councillor William Heslop said: “Litter is one of the biggest problems we come across when we are out and about at parish councils.
“We can’t deal with litter and we can’t deal with speeding. It keeps coming up.”
The meeting heard numerous parish councils had been left frustrated after identifying sites where bins were needed and setting aside funds to buy bins, only to be told by the district council that its litter collection service was already operating at maximum capacity.
However, councillors were told the authority did pick up rubbish that volunteer litter pickers collected from sites where bins were clearly needed and also regularly cleared rubbish from littering hotspots.
Nevertheless, officers warned that “capacity is an issue, both in terms of vehicles and staffing”, and that emptying more litter bins would cost the council.
Councillor Threlfall said: “Surely it is easier for our operatives to pick up litter from a contained bin and not all over the laybys.
“We are trying to look at a new initiative to try and reduce the amount of litter scattered throughout Richmondshire.”
He added the scheme would focus attention on sites with the most serious littering issues.
Swaledale and Arkengarthdale councillor Richard Good said many parishes in his ward would be prepared to buy bins because they felt there was an inadequate amount of them, particularly near takeaways.
He added: “Perhaps in some cases businesses ought to be providing a bin outside their own business, because certainly in Reeth they are getting filled very easily.”
Some councillors said the litter issue would not improve until the public took responsibility for their own rubbish, while Councillor Helen Grant highlighted how Colburn Town Council had already taken matters into its own hands by buying bins and paying for them to be regularly emptied.
She said: “That’s what you do, you precept your villages and people who actually need to have a clean village are paying for it and they will police it.”