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Neighbours’ shock as binmen from Serco for Canterbury council told not to carry bin bags in Clyde Street and Alma Street

Binmen in Canterbury are being ordered not to carry rubbish bags just a few yards to their trucks – for health and safety reasons.

The extraordinary diktat emerged after people complained their bags were going uncollected because dustcarts could not park close enough to their homes.

But Canterbury City Council said this week it would not be “acceptable for the safety of the binmen” to carry bags to rubbish trucks.

Rubbish is being left uncollected in Alma Street and Clyde Street
Rubbish is being left uncollected in Alma Street and Clyde Street

Roads affected by the barmy rules include the city’s Notley Street, Clyde Street and Alma Street, which form a square with the back of the dairy on Military Road.

Many homes have no back access and have weekly collections of purple rubbish sacks.

The area is only about 60 yards across, but the city council insists its bin contractor Serco’s trucks go to the rubbish – rather than rubbish being carried to the truck.

Labour Cllr Alan Baldock, who represents the Northgate ward, branded it a “complete cock-up”.

He said: “How is it all right for an old person to carry their bin bags to somewhere else and not all right for a binman to do the same? That seems bizarre and contradictory.

Janet Varley lives in Clyde Street
Janet Varley lives in Clyde Street

“Why don’t they just send a smaller truck round? Instead, we’ve got rubbish going uncollected.

"It’s a disgrace and another example that this council’s bin collection system is not fit for purpose.”

Catherine Davis, who has lived in Alma Street since 1978, weighed into the extraordinary row, saying the problems started at Christmas.

She said: “The binmen should not pretend that they can’t carry the rubbish to somewhere else or make other arrangements.

“If they can’t get into the road then they should tell us they can’t and tell us somewhere else where we can leave our rubbish for collection.”

Janet Varley, of Clyde Street, added: “That’s ridiculous that they can’t get their trucks round. I don’t believe that.

Catherine Davis of Alma Street, Canterbury
Catherine Davis of Alma Street, Canterbury

“I have complained so many times about this that they must be getting sick of me.”

But council spokesman Rob Davies defended the ruling.

He said: “Our agreed collection method is for rubbish to be picked up at the kerbside, and we have equipment and machinery to enable that to happen for the vast majority of properties.

“Picking up bags and carrying them some distance down the road to wherever the dustcart can stop is not acceptable for the safety of the binmen.

“I have complained so many times about this that they must be getting sick of me” - Janet Varley

“In addition, leaving a dustcart in one location for a significant period of time while this happens can potentially lead to obstruction and inconvenience.

“These streets are quite narrow and there are often vehicles parked in such a way that makes it difficult for the trucks to get access.

"If this happens, Serco try to do the collection again the next day. In addition, some people occasionally put their bags out on the wrong day.

“Council and Serco staff have this week been in the area looking at potential ways to resolve the problem in these streets.”

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