Households will be charged £40 for losing wheelie bins in Norwich
- Credit: IAN BURT
As of next week residents in Norwich who find their wheelie bin missing will be charged as the city council withdraw their free replacement policy, saying the local authority is currently haemorrhaging bins.
During 2015 Norwich City Council had 5,881 requests for new bins and spent £140,000 replacing around 4,500.
And from Monday morning, any of the 50,000 households who use black and blue household wheelie bins will be charged £40 for a replacement.
The theory is to try to reduce demand by encouraging people to keep their bins safe and secure.
Food waste caddies will still be replaced for free, along with any bins damaged during waste collection by contractors, Biffa.
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Paul Kendrick, cabinet member for waste strategy at Norwich City Council, said he wanted people to 'take ownership' of their bins.
'If your bicycle is lost or stolen you have to replace it at your own expense, so people rightly take steps to secure them,' he said.
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'We suggest the same thing is done for bins. We are under financial pressures like all local authorities in terms of cut backs, and we have to make tough decisions.'
The council hope to save around £60,000 with the initiative, which went out to consultation in 2011 as one of a series of proposals for cost-cutting.
At that time it was ranked 13th most popular of 20 options, with 45pc of people voicing strong opposition.
'We won't recoup all our costs but will be making a strong move in the right direction to save money for the council, which in turn will help us protect other services,' added Mr Kendrick.
'It is reasonable to ask people to take responsibility for their bins, and for our part we have a new action plan to ensure householders bins are well-handled by contractors and returned to where they are put out.
'A financial burden is not something we want to impose upon people, but it is reasonable to ask people to take the same responsibility for them they do with their other property.'
The policy has been seen to work in other areas around the country. Burnley Borough Council issued 4,750 new bins a year before adopting a charge, which has now dropped to 800. Similarly, demand in Lambeth Council has fallen by 60pc.
But other councils closer to home have more varied approaches.
A Broadland District Council spokesman said: 'We appreciate that sometimes bins can go missing and we have tended to take a sympathetic approach. We do reserve the right to charge for a replacement but we're not aware of any occasion in recent years where we've felt the need to do so.'
South Norfolk Council say they only charge people if the reason they need a new bin is their responsibility. If a bin is vandalised or stolen they are eligible for a free one, otherwise replacements cost £42.
North Norfolk District Council said that in most cases the first replacement is free of charge but any subsequent replacements are chargeable at £30.
West Norfolk Council say they have charged a rate of £38.34 for lost wheelie bins since 2006.