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'Big belly bins' at Whitstable beach demanded by Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield and campaigners to tackle litter will cost £4,500 each

Campaigners are conflicted about how to tackle rubbish near a beach - as it was revealed “big belly bins” cost £4,500 each.

It comes after a petition was launched by Naomi Smith that called for the large receptacles to be introduced near Whitstable's seafront in a bid to tackle a scourge of litter and nitrous oxide canisters.

Litter left strewn across Whitstable seafront last month. Picture: John Stoddart
Litter left strewn across Whitstable seafront last month. Picture: John Stoddart

The town’s MP Rosie Duffield and the three of the town's Labour councillors have also backed calls for them.

First trialled in the UK six years ago, the giant bins have solar panels on their lids that power a compactor inside that crushes rubbish.

They send notifications to councils and refuse collectors to inform them once they need emptying.

But critics claim they are ugly, expensive and overflow unless rubbish collection services are arranged to empty them promptly.

Author and campaigner Julie Wassmer wrote to the city council’s chief executive, Colin Carmichael, to say although she signed the petition backing big belly bins, she does not believe they are the answer.

Campaigner Julie Wassmer opposes "big belly bins"
Campaigner Julie Wassmer opposes "big belly bins"

The letter states: “The bins are expensive and where they have been installed, in Norfolk for instance, they were paid for by local traders.

“Our local Whitstable traders are currently suffering financially from the recent lockdown.” She has instead called for increased collections, more bins in all heavy footfall areas, patrols by enforcement officers and extra staff to clear litter.

A spokesman for the city council said it is looking at the potential for the use of big belly bins in some locations on the coast.

But they revealed each one costs about £4,500, plus an annual maintenance fee of about £180 - compared to £472 each plus fitting for a standard ‘Jubilee’ one.

“We also need to consider how easy they are to empty, as there would be challenges in some areas due to the size of vehicle required to empty them,” they added.

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