Let’s get ready to rumble – go ahead given for wheelie bin army to trundle into Milton Keynes

A mighty army of wheelie bins is set to rumble into Milton Keynes after a cabinet member rejected calls to wait until problems with the new waste collection system are ironed out.

With the current waste collection contract due to end in March 2023, the borough council has been carrying out a trial for a system that will replace the sacks residents can use in unlimited numbers.

Most homes will get four wheelie bins, and the council has decided to work problems out as the new contract takes shape.

The cabinet member responsible, Cllr Emily Darlington (Lab, Bletchley East) told a meeting on Tuesday that the council intends to listen to residents and come up with “co-operative solutions”, without defining what that could mean.

Milton Keynes Council makes major decisions in public and Cllr Darlington officially signed the decision to proceed at one of those delegated decisions meetings.

Conservative group leader Cllr Alex Walker (Stantonbury) said he was unconvinced that the council had covered all the bases and whether the majority of residents wanted wheelie bins.

Cllr Walker believes fears the council was asking questions to get the answers it wants after a survey received 75 per cent support for the bins.

Residents will be asked to put one kind of recycling out one week, and another kind of recycling bin out in alternate weeks.

Cllr Walker said this introduced fortnightly collections where collections every week has been the norm.

People will also be limited in the amount they could throw away and this he fears could lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

Green party activist and New Bradwell resident Alan Francis wondered whether the council would prosecute itself for obstructing the footpaths.

He referred to a part of New Bradwell where residents have to leave the bins in the street seven days a week.

“People have to push baby buggies in the road,” he said. “There is no mention of obstruction in the reports.”

He called for the new system to be delayed until the council has answers.

Cllr Paul Trendall (Lib Dem, Campbell Park & Old Woughton) said he was “thrilled” with the overwhelmingly positive response to wheelie bins.

But he asked Cllr Darlington to commit to working to find solutions where storing bins isn’t ideal. There are understood to be about 6,000 properties across MK where residents would have problems storing bins.

Cllr Darlington said the work continues and the council wants to hear from residents about finding different, or as she called it “a co-operative solution”.

But she praised the wheeled bins as providing a “cleaner, greener and safer” waste collection system.

One issue the council is keen to get to grips with is the amount of “wrong kind of waste”, where it has to pay contractors to separate recycling from other wastes.

And it also wants to persuade people to think about the amount of waste they put into the system.