Rubbish Idea: Sheffield neighbours to share bins and OAPs help scrapped in £3.3m cuts plan

Strong opposition: Arthritis sufferer Ivy Marshall is surprised   that the council is thinking of cutting help with bin collections.                                   Picture:DEAN ATKINS.
Strong opposition: Arthritis sufferer Ivy Marshall is surprised that the council is thinking of cutting help with bin collections. Picture:DEAN ATKINS.
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TERRACED households could be forced to share bins with neighbours - and 20,000 elderly or disabled people could lose help with their bin collections - as part of proposals to shave £3.3 million from Sheffield Council’s waste management service.

The controversial ideas are among suggestions of how to cut the £27.7m annual cost of emptying black bins, blue bins and boxes, and green bins and sacks.

Moving to fortnightly black bin collections could save £2.4m alone.

Sheffield Council needs to slash £50m from its overall budget over the next year, and is running a public consultation on the future of waste collection.

But the idea of cancelling help for the city’s 20,559 elderly and disabled households was met by strong opposition today.

Sheffield Pensioners’ Action Group member Ivy Marshall, aged 77, of Dunella Drive, Hillsborough, said: “I use the assisted collection service because I suffer from angina and have arthritis, and there are steps between my house and the street.

“I am very surprised the council is even thinking of cutting such a vital service - it’s a lifeline many would find it difficult to live without.”

Fellow group member Brian Turley, 80, from Nether Edge, also receives help from binmen to get his wheelie bin to the street.

He said: “We seem to get less and less from our taxes. Where will it end? When you are older you suffer from health problems and it’s difficult to move bins yourself.”

And Jane Tanser, of the Sheffield Fifty Plus group, which also represents pensioners, said: “We would hope the council does not go down this route.”

Opposition Lib Dems say they will fight against the proposed cuts.

Lib Dem councillors have already pulled out of a cross-party review of waste management, claiming the public were being asked ‘loaded questions’ in the survey.

Leader, Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, said: “The fact Labour councillors are even considering taking away assisted collections from people who are too elderly, frail or disabled to move their own bin is deeply worrying.

“If some of these proposals are followed through we could see collections cut by half, and even shared bins on terraced streets.

“There is no doubt waste collection in Sheffield is under serious threat.”

But Sheffield Council leader, Coun Julie Dore, moved to reassure residents.

She said: “We have asked officers to provide a list of options but that does not mean they will become council policy. There are things we find unpalatable and will not be implementing - including anything that hits disabled people or minority groups.

“We are against cutting assisted collections - although the cost is something we would want to renegotiate with contractor Veolia. Removing the service may not be allowed under the Disability Discrimination Act.

“Should there be overwhelming public demand to keep weekly bin collections, that will be considered,” she added.

Coun Dore said bin sharing in high-density housing areas could be investigated but would be ruled out if it is found to hit vulnerable groups.

She added a reduction in bin collections could lead to job losses at Veolia - although she hoped the company could redeploy staff in other areas.

* Log onto www.enventure.co.uk/sheffieldwaste.htm before tomorrow to answer the council’s questionnaire on the future of bin collections.

* New calendars are being delivered to homes across Sheffield giving dates for blue bin and box collections. Residents who have not received a new calendar by September 30 can call 0114 273 4567.