Community leaders have called for “common sense to prevail” after officials ruled that a dog waste bin should be moved so that council workers didn’t get injured when lifting heavy bags of dog poo.
Town councillors in Middleham have been left bemused after being told the bin — which has been in position for a number of years on a popular dog walking route in Church Field — needs to be located next to a road to allow refuse vehicles to park nearby when emptying.
Previously, vehicles reversed up to the bin along a narrow lane, however council staff put a stop to this manoeuvre after a vehicle was recently involved in a minor scrape.
This has prompted Richmondshire District Council to apply council policy which states that dog waste bins need to be situated within four metres of a highway.
But Middleham Town Council has pointed out that while the bin may be easier to empty, it will be much less convenient for dog walkers and may result in more fouling.
The town council has suggested a foldable sack trolley could be used to move the dog waste instead of moving the bin.
Middleham town councillor Honor Byford said: “The bin is well used because it is in the right place near the gate to this small field.
“We have suggested that the district council purchases a folding sack trolley for carrying heavier bags of poo at a cost of £35 and leave the bin in the right place.
“So far they have simply quoted their policy in reply. We have suggested the policy or procedure should be updated, saving unnecessary expense and let common sense prevail.”
Cllr Byford added: “We are very concerned that fewer people will make a detour to the new bin site and will not bother to pick up, or will leave bags of pooh elsewhere or in the litter bin, all of which is unpleasant and a potential health hazard for our children using the litter bin and the Church Field adjacent to the play parks.”
Local resident and dog walker Jan Bacon said it was “crazy” to move the bin to besides a nearby road.
“This bin is exactly where it needs to be, beside the gate on my way out.
“If they move it, I’m expected to turn the opposite way with two dogs and two or three full poo bags, put them in a bin further away and then come back again – it’s daft.”
The district council said they needed to to move the dog bin to a more suitable location not more than four metres from a highway.
A council spokesperson said: “This is due to the health and safety implications of the weight of the material within, which is extremely dense and heavy.”
Tom O’Neill, senior waste and street scene supervisor, also told the town council: “The need to re-site the bin is to ensure that operationally staff can safely empty the dog bin without causing injury to themselves or members of the public.
“Thank you for your suggestion of using a trolley to aid the operatives however, dog waste bins throughout the district are emptied by a combination of street cleansing staff and waste operatives via a refuse collection vehicle.
“Unfortunately, refuse collection vehicles do not have any storage facilities which would enable the crews to carry a trolley to assist in transporting heavy dog waste.”