Residents: ‘Wheelie bins will mean cleaner streets’

By on 18/04/2013 in Cllr McKay, News

Plans to introduce wheelie bins across Birmingham will mean cleaner streets - with fewer foxes and rats.

That's the verdict of a new survey of city residents, with a majority welcoming the council's plans to replace black bags with wheelie bins over the next three years.

The latest results of the independent survey, due to be discussed at the Transport, Connectivity and Sustainability Overview and Scrutiny Committee this Friday (April 19), show that:

•    61 per cent of residents agree that wheelie bins will help to reduce the number of vermin in their neighbourhood, (25 per cent disagree, 14 per cent are unsure).
•    58 per cent agree wheelie bins will reduce the amount of rubbish spilt onto the street, (31 per cent disagree, 11 per cent are unsure).
•    51 per cent agree wheelie bins will improve the cleanliness of their neighbourhoods, (35 per cent disagree, 14 per cent are unsure).
•    50 per cent agree wheelie bins will be good for the city, (36 per cent disagree, 14 per cent are unsure).

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, said: “I'm really encouraged by these results which show that already, before they've even got them, the majority of Birmingham residents welcome wheelie bins.

“Residents also clearly understand the benefits, with six out of ten people feeling they will reduce vermin on the streets, and nearly six out of ten feeling they will make streets cleaner.

“There are obviously some residents who are unsure, and that is only to be expected with such a big change planned. But based on the experiences of other councils who have made this change, I am confident that residents' acceptance of the new system will increase once they are introduced.”

Other survey results include 87 per cent of residents agreeing that Birmingham City Council should do more to reduce costs by encouraging recycling and reducing rubbish, (4 per cent disagreed).

Meanwhile, wheelie bins have been found to be suitable for more than 90 per cent of properties in the two pilot wards in Birmingham due to receive them in the next few weeks.

The latest figures from street-by-street assessments show that 96.7 per cent of low rise properties in Brandwood and 91.9 per cent of low rise properties in Harborne have received green cards, meaning they are suitable for wheelie bins.

In Brandwood, this means 8,942 households have green cards and, of these, only 52 households to date have disputed the assessment. In Harborne, 7,213 households have green cards, with just 53 disputing them.

Those properties that receive red cards will have alternative, non-wheelie bin collections arranged as required. To date, there are just 308 of these properties in Brandwood, and 635 in Harborne.

Interestingly, several households in Brandwood and Harborne have disputed their red cards - that is, they have said that they want wheelie bins even though the council feels they might not be suitable.

All disputed green and red cards are being carefully looked into by the council, working with concerned residents.

Cllr McKay said: “The assessment results have been really encouraging so far, and we are continuing to work with residents to make sure that everyone understands what is happening.”

Notes for editors

•    The above survey is being carried out by Opinion Research Services Ltd, whose work is certified as fully compliant with ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 20252:2006, and is accredited to IQCS (Interviewer Quality Control Scheme). More details at
•    The consultation closes at the end of May 2013. The above are interim results from over 3,000 returns, as at March 31, 2013.
•    Wheelie bins are due to be delivered to Brandwood at the end of May, with collections starting in early June; Harborne is scheduled for three weeks later. All other residents will be advised about the dates of roll-outs in their area.
•    The assessment considers if a property has steep steps and/or slopes between the property and roadside, no storage space for wheelie bins or poor access for collection vehicles. If it has any of these, a red card is issued, and residents are advised of how their rubbish will be collected. Otherwise the property is deemed suitable, and a green card is issued.
•    The above assessment figures quoted exclude high rise and other flats that will be served on a communal container collection system.

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There Are 8 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Adrian says:

    How are you assessing each house? Are you walking past and green carding every house with out steps/slopes? What if the house has an elderly or disabled resident and how will you know?
    I for one don’t want 3 wheelie bins stuck on my drive providing a free bin for passers by to dump their rubbish in my bins.

  2. Cyril says:

    I really can’t remember the last time a councillor so misjudged the mood,reaction and hostility by Birmingham residents towards any kind of a new scheme, let alone forcing the introduction of wheelie bins upon people without even asking them in the first place and who clearly have no room for them on their properties but have already been green carded.This idea is causing great anguish amongst many of the elderly residents where I live but this is obvious lack of concern by Cllr, McKay and his failure to address their anxiety does him no favours at all.Endless videos about how wonderful wheelie bins are just doesn’t wash and is insulting to peoples intelligence and it only goes to proves how worried this Labour council is when the pilot scheme gets under way If they think the criticism they are getting now is bad , wait until the middle of June when it all starts.

  3. Shirley Forde says:

    Is it possible to opt out of using the wheelie bins altogether? I’d rather take my rubbish to the local refuse collection site on a weekly basis than have wheelie bins at the front of my bungalow. I do not have access from the front to the back of the property.

    • geoffc says:

      If you live in one of the pilot areas – call the numbers on the card you will have received.
      If not, we will be able to look at your personal circumstances when the scheme is extended to your area.

  4. Cyril says:

    It would make us council tax paying residents feel a whole lot better if the present leaders on Birmingham City Council made some kind of concerted attempt to rein in the enormous £100 million outstanding council tax bills that remains unpaid by people who can’t pay or refuse to pay ! Addressing this issue first is more of a priority for councillors than blessed wheelie bins and there supposed saving of money . This council and this councillor can’t complain then that they haven’t the money for libraries, swimming pools, the vulnerable etc. when nothing seems to be done to make sure everyone who is meant to pay…….should pay !

    • geoffc says:

      Unfortunately, there will always be an element of Council Tax which is non-collectable. This is currently in the region of 2% in Birmingham which is in line with many other Local Authorities. In Birmingham this represents debt aged as far back as 1997 through to 2011/12 – which totals £68m together with the remaining amount of uncollected council tax from 2012/13, a further £21m of which we expect to collect a substantial amount through already existing payment arrangements in 2013/14.
      In total, over the last 15 years (back to 1997), the city would have had in the region of £4.5bn of Council Tax to collect after the awarding of Council Tax benefit. The total arrears outstanding represents less than 2% of this figure.
      Some of the main reasons for non-collection of the 2% include:

      Citizens absconding and we are unable to trace forwarding addresses despite our improvements in this area including utilising financial tracing
      Citizens who pass away with no income available from the estate and are in arrears with their Council Tax
      Accounts remitted as a result of citizens being committed to prison (in effect the debt is written off and replaced by a prison sentence)

      We have in place robust measures to ensure collection, and where citizens do not pay, we will rigorously pursue them.
      The council is aware that many of its citizens do face financial difficulties and will always endeavour to assist those who are eligible for support, and urges individuals to make contact at the earliest opportunity to avoid potential further action being instigated.
      The council places no time-limit on the collection of Council Tax arrears and will pursue the debt no matter what time has elapsed since the debt was incurred. This is demonstrated by the £16.6m of arrears that we successfully recovered in 2011/12 (the most recent year for which data is available).

  5. Cyril says:

    Well , you are obviously not ‘ rigorously pursuing ‘ the non payers enough.Do you realise that my council tax bill takes up nearly 14% of my wife and I’s total annual income.! make sure I pay on time but feel totally disgusted that this sum is inflated by people who can’t or refuse to pay.Never mind the excuses…how do you think we feel ? and we pay up and in full in April.Give the people who pay up and who are on low incomes some credit for that at least ! There are more than a few of us in this position without having to bail out and having our bills boosted by non payers.

  6. Cyril says:

    If anything is sure in life you can always rely on and watch the great spectacle of the Labour ‘ spin ‘ machine in full operation here.They were the masters of it before they finally got found out at the last general election.A good idea would be to have a new survey to judge the opinions down my road in Harborne with terraced houses and small front gardens and where it is very difficult to get bins up and down the entry’s which are unevenly paved or overgrown, if you want to store your wheelie bin in your back garden and not have these ugly monstrosities stuck in your front garden for all to see..We have all been green carded and when any objection is made by a resident, some council guy comes around and the objection is dismissed out of hand.To say the residents are fuming with how this has all been gone about would be putting it mildly.Although Cllr.McKay seems overly confident that opposition and hostility concerning wheelie bins will soon die down,from the many people I have spoken too, there seems to be absolutely no evidence of this at all.Ask the residents now who live terraced housing in my road if they actually want wheelie bins and that percentage figure wouldn’t even reach single figures.