Missed bin collections at nature reserve ‘creating a health hazard’

Blue bins at RSPB Lochwinnoch have only been emptied on time twice since the site reopened in April.

Missed bin collections at nature reserve ‘creating a health hazard’ Google Maps
RSPB Lochwinnoch: Bosses have lodged a complaint over the council's recycling service.

Nature reserve bosses have lodged an official complaint with Renfrewshire Council after binmen have consistently failed to collect their recycling.

Blue bins at RSPB Lochwinnoch have only been emptied on time twice since the site reopened in April following the coronavirus lockdown and are often left overflowing near the picnic area.

Environment chiefs have now been instructed to complete a “comprehensive review” of waste services across rural areas and town centres after other villagers and businesses also raised concerns about missed collections.

Councillor Andy Doig, who represents Johnstone town centre and Lochwinnoch, put forward a motion highlighting “systemic” problems with waste services that received the full backing of elected members.

He said: “I think change has to happen.

“It’s got to the point where RSPB Lochwinnoch has made a formal complaint. That’s one of the biggest attractions in Renfrewshire and bins are sitting out for weeks on end uncollected.

“There are over 100 farms in my ward, so there’s a lot of rural residents who have also reported continual difficulties. 

“There’s also a problem in that town centre businesses can’t leave their bins out on a Sunday evening because the collection service comes as early as 7am. Most businesses don’t open until 9am, so these bins are in danger of being knocked over.

“Officers have been brilliant in realising there’s a problem, but we need to have a comprehensive review. 

“The rural collection route used to have a fixed crew and since it went rotational it’s been nothing but mayhem. The failures are systemic.”

Councillor Doig’s motion asked local authority bosses to “examine the merits” of having fixed crews assigned to rural areas who know how to navigate them well.

Tabby Lamont, site manager at RSPB Lochwinnoch, said the health of some visitors was being put at risk.

She added: “We reopened at the back end of April and since then our blue bins have been collected twice on time.

“The team have been emailing the council repeatedly. When collections are missed, one truck is sent around to do all of them and this makes us think stuff probably isn’t being recycled.

“We do get through a lot of cardboard as we have a retail operation and these bins are next to the picnic area near to our visitors. When we get high winds it can blow about.

“It’s an eyesore and a health hazard.”

A council spokesman said: “We are aware of recent issues with waste collections at RSPB Lochwinnoch and apologise for that.

 “We believe this was down to a technical issue with our vehicle routing system which has now been fixed and we will ensure these collections are not missed in future.”

By local democracy reporter Steph Brawn