A RADICAL review of litter management has been called following concern about a lack of bins.
Morpeth Town Council provides more than 150 bins in the town, but more have been requested by residents.
However, the authority has been told that no extra bins can be installed as Northumberland County Council, which empties them, has reached capacity.
Councillors are becoming increasingly concerned about the problem and invited senior officers along to a Property and Asset Management Committee to discuss the situation.
Committee Chairman Andrew Tebbutt said: “We have been told in the last couple of years that the county council has reached capacity in terms of its ability to empty the bins so unless we can move existing bins to new areas it is beginning to give us a problem.
“It is going to get worse as Morpeth is expected to grow considerably over the next decade. We have already got areas now where people want extra bins and we are running out of the opportunity to re-locate bins because they are all used.”
Coun Les Cassie added: “There are occasions when we have requested a bin because of a substantial change in the way Morpeth is organised, for example, the opening of the new health centre. There is a bus stop there that has never had a bin, but now it is being used a lot. People can’t understand that the council won’t provide a bin even though there is litter on the ground.”
Neighbourhood Environmental Action Team manager Amanda Cryer said that staff who empty the bins are also responsible for other services, such as grass cutting, pothole repairs and seasonal jobs like gritting or strimming, which would suffer if more bins were added to their rounds.
And Rural Area Manager for Highways and Neighbourhood Services, Louise Haywood, said the council should look at litter enforcement and education before installing more bins.
She added: “What we need to do is an assessment of where the bins are, how the schedules are being done and how full the bins are before we empty them. This may address some issues.
“I’m happy to go away and look at it, but I think we need to know what we have got at the moment.”
Coun Tebbutt urged Ms Haywood to consider all options, however radical, including the possibility of the town council providing funds for collections.
“Come back to us with a list. We need to look at what options we have got, not just in the short term, but the longer term as well,” he said.
Coun Dave Pope suggested trying to encourage people to take more pride in the town and not drop litter.