North Lanarkshire Council’s review of the wheelie bin uplift has come under fire from the opposing SNP group who are accusing the local authority of ‘doorstep aggression’.
The News and Chronicle reported last week that households in areas such as Westfield and Eastfield enjoy a special arrangement with binmen who offer a pull-out service where their bins are collected in a central point and returned to their homes.
The area’s unique layout with its lack of pavements, make the conventional arrangement of leaving bins outside each house impossible.
Proposals, however, to end the arrangement were presented at a meeting of the council’s environmental and services committee last month. The council says they will visit households as part of an information gathering exercise to inform the review of the pull-out service.
It says this review will take into account the needs of residents and will be carried out sensitively.
The council also accepts that there will always be vulnerable residents who need the pull-out service.
At the meeting, however, the SNP moved that the proposal be withheld.
Councillor William Goldie said: “The Labour majority defeated the SNP move.
“This means council employees will now make unannounced door-to-door visits to quiz the elderly and the disabled on whether there is someone living with them who is sufficiently able-bodied to handle wheelie bins.
“Voters rolls will be checked for evidence of other residents at home.”
Councillor Goldie added: “This approach is a recipe for council doorstep aggression. “Vulnerable elderly and disabled could be alarmed as they are taken by surprise. hey could be pressured into instant agreements which don’t work out in practice.
“There could be an able-bodied person living in a house, but not available when on days when bins are to be pulled out. Other elderly might only be marginally fit to pull out bins. “The sensible approach is to distribute notices first.
“This will allow residents time to think about current arrangements and to be aware that council callers will be visiting.
“Unfortunately, Labour councillors voted through the surprise visit approach.”
Kenneth Wilson, head of land services at NLC, added: “To suggest our employees would be aggressive on residents’ own doorsteps is inappropriate. They will always show their council identification, explain clearly the purpose for their visit, and talk to residents politely.”