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Council snoopers spy on New Forest bins
12:40pm Thursday 21st March 2013 in News
COUNCIL snoopers are spying on the contents of hundreds of thousands of wheelie bins across Hampshire.
Bin men across large areas of the county are being asked to keep an eye on what people are throwing in their plastic containers.
In the New Forest, bin men are also asked to check up on what people are throwing away. Some send out information leaflets or attach notes to bins if they find residents trying to stash rubbish in the wrong container.
In Southampton, residents who break the rules will be reminded of possible “enforcement measures”, according to a council report.
And anyone tempted to throw their leaves, cut grass and unwanted foliage in their recycling or household waste bins in Eastleigh could be logged in a computer, receive an automatically generated letter or face a visit from a council officer.
The council will also refuse to take the rubbish away.
Now council tax campaigners fear “rubbish police” in the two communities will keep a close eye on whether garden waste is being placed in the right container.
Refuse collectors will use in-cab technology to make a note of the property involved and repeat offenders will then be sent an automatically generated letter.
If that fails, further letters will be sent before the resident receives a visit from a council officer.
But ultimately, there will be no fines for those who constantly break the rules with waste simply going uncollected until bins contain the right materials.
Jonathan Isaby, political director of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said charging residents for garden waste collection was “the thin end of the wedge” for residents.
And he added: “One of the most basic services that people expect in return for their cash is for their rubbish to be collected. “The idea that the councils are going to use rubbish police to rifle through people’s bins and spy on their waste will be especially alarming to local residents.”
Southampton city councillor Don Thomas said the policy of refuse collectors checking through bins was “ridiculous”.
He added: “The average resident out there already understands the importance of where to put rubbish but now they almost feel they have to walk on egg shells and be so careful about what they throw away.
“Putting things in the right bin is now becoming a chore rather than something people would want to do happily and on a voluntary basis.
“I certainly believe this is going to cause more fly-tipping. I think unscrupulous people with lots of garden waste may also now look for alternative ways of disposing of their waste.”
Councils say the aim of checking waste is to educate residents about recycling, avoid the risk of contaminating a load and encouraging homeowners to put the correct materials in each bin.