Commercial waste bins to be removed from city streets

A new policy is to be introduced to combat the problem of commercial waste containers obstructing Aberdeen pavements.

Current rules were put in place in 2013 but significant changes in recycling regimes since then have led to an increase in the number of commercial bins in operation, leading to concerns about obstructions to pedestrians and the visual impact on areas with a high density of commercial premises.

The Aberdeen City Council Finance, Policy and Resources committee has agreed to implement a new policy which aims to dramatically reduce the number or Trade Waste bins being permanently stored on city centre pavements. The revised policy will prohibit the collection of waste between 12.30pm and 2.30pm each day – with no containers permitted to be left on the street during that period.

It is designed to ensure that premises have an obligation to clear the streets of bins each day and to assist with enforcement by making it easier to identify breaches. There is also a provision for businesses who can demonstrate they have no alternative to apply for an exemption certificate.

Any business failing to comply will be asked to remove the container – and any further transgressions will result in the business being served notice to remove the bin within 24-hours. To avoid further abuse the notice will apply for a period of six-months from day of issue. Any businesses which do not comply with the notice will have their bin removed by the Council and a charge of £500 made for its removal, storage and return. Any waste container not collected within five working days will be subject to a further disposal charge of £150.

The Council will work in partnership with Aberdeen Inspired, the City Centre Partnership and the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce to engage with businesses and inform them of the new policy and the enforcement implications should requirements not be met.

Cllr Douglas Lumsden, Co-Leader of Aberdeen City Council and convener of the Finance, Policy and Resources committee, said: “The issue of obstruction of pavements is a serious one, particularly for those with disabilities which can make navigating our city streets even more difficult and potentially dangerous. This policy is an attempt to address those concerns throughout the city, but particularly in the centre where the issue is most prevalent.

“It will also help to improve the appearance of our city streets, part of the far wider plans to enhance Aberdeen’s appeal for the residents and businesses we serve as well as visitors to the region. We are investing heavily in infrastructure, events and improvements – but the fine detail is also important.

“Clearly there will be implications for businesses and those have not been ignored as this policy was prepared. We are aware of the difficulties some will face in relation to off-street storage provision but ultimately this is an issue which must be addressed and we hope the business community will show its support.”

Aberdeen Inspired, the banner under which the city’s Business Improvement District operates, supports the Council’s stance and through the City Centre Manager has been involved in consultation with businesses.

Geoff Cooper, City Centre Manager with Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Both for the benefit of pedestrians and improving the visual appeal of the city centre, the issue of commercial waste containers has to be tackled. We welcome Aberdeen City Council’s efforts to make enforcement more practical and the plans for a firm stance.

“We have consulted with our members and the wider business community in the city centre. Naturally there are mixed views and there will be hurdles to overcome – but the board of Aberdeen Inspired fully support the need for change to improve the appearance of Aberdeen city centre.”

An implementation date of 1 May 2018 has been set, with enforcement and charging commencing on 1 October 2018.