Bin collections are about to change all over Bolton. From  July 15, people all over the borough may find their bins collected on different days, while one particular bin pickup will be slashed. In this special report we look at the radical changes made to a system branded “not fit for purpose.”

A week today beige bin collections will be collected every four weeks, while dates of other wheelie bin rounds may change for some residents.

Bolton Council say their bin crews are seeing many beige bins that are not full and as a result 'does not deliver maximum efficiencies for the service, particularly when considering the cost of operating a bin wagon.

Changes to collection rounds for other bins in some areas are designed to improve the service and respond to increases in housing development in some areas of Bolton.

As part of improving the service, which has been subject to a number of complaints recently, there will be nearly 20 new bin wagons on the streets of Bolton within months to sure up a system branded “not fit for purpose.”

Changes to bin pickups across the borough have already provoked huge controversies.

Cllr Sylvia Crossley, of Kearsley, said the “bin dilemma” was already causing problems for people in her area.

Speaking at a recent meeting, she said: “Residents were promised that with the arrival of new bin trucks, there would be a significant improvement in service.

“Unfortunately, the residents of Kearsley are still experiencing numerous missed bin collections, often without a successful return visit.”

Bin collections will be changing across the boroughBin collections will be changing across the borough (Image: Newsquest)

She asked what was being done to improve bin collection across Bolton and how the council was making sure people were aware of the impending changes to “beige bin” collections.

These changes will see beige bins, which collect cardboard, picked up every four weeks instead of every two weeks from today.

In response, council cabinet member for the environment Cllr Richard Silvester told the meeting that the authority’s waste services had needed to change dramatically.

He said: “It was not fit for purpose and needed radically changing with decisions taken to change every aspect of it.”

Cllr Silvester told a full meeting of Bolton Council that before these changes were decided on, the authority had 12 bin wagons past their recommended seven-year life span.

He also said that he had found the service left with many “broken down bin wagons” an overreliance on agency workers and “inefficient” bin routes.

Cllr Silvester said: “An additional 5,000 properties have been added with crews trying to rush around trying to get them completed, it needed a complete overhaul.”

Only a few months ago in March, missed bin collections had provoked widespread complaints at Bolton Council, with bins in Kearsley, Great Lever, Little Lever and elsewhere left uncollected.

This came after concerns had already been raised about missed bin collections last December had already been raised at a previous meeting in January.

Bolton Council issued a statement shortly after saying that snow and ice had caused “significant disruptions.”

The authority also said that while it made “every effort” to make good on missed collections, this was “not always possible.”

In March, Cllr Silvester said that six new bin wagons had already been deployed across Bolton with a further 19 on order for August to help deal with this.

At the most recent meeting, he said that nine of these had already been deployed as of June this year, will all 19 still expected to be operational by the end of August.

Cllr Silvester said: “Without the need to rely on agency workers, all the drivers have been recruited and half of the loaders.”

He said that all new staff would be properly trained while out on rounds.

He added: “We are seeing fewer missed streets on our webpage each day as a result of operational issues and we are continuing to catch up on missed streets within a 48 hour period as per our policy.”

Many of the changes had been brought in after Bolton Council agreed to cuts that would slash as much as £9.1M from its budget in an effort to balance its books.

The same budget meeting also set out plans to dim street lighting at various locations and to raise council tax by more than five per cent.

Beginning in December last year the authority began a consultation process that lasted until Tuesday January 9 this year canvassing people’s views on bin collections.

This was carried out before the budget was agreed by Bolton Council in February this year.

Where the waste disposal system was concerned, these cuts took the form of slashing beige bin collections from fortnightly, to just monthly.

As of June 17, households around Bolton have been receiving leaflets about changes to bin collections, while the council has also posted information in its website.

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No further changes are currently planned to bin collection times or routes other than those that have already been announced.

But Cllr Silvester said that the changes had also been brought in after he found the waste collection system in Bolton to be a “complete mess.”

He said: “All of the changes taking place will make the waste and recycling service fit for purpose.

“It is not an overnight thing to do, all of this takes time and I want to thank the members and the public for their patience.

“The system very soon will be completely transformed, and I expect big improvements to be made once the new bin rounds have been bedded in.”