Following a 148-signature petition and complaints to CRT, K&A Manager Mark Stephens has agreed to re-instate the rubbish bins for boaters in Hungerford and Devizes Wharf. Other bin stores will be improved to prevent misuse and fly-tipping, including building fences and lockable gates. Many boaters contributed their views to a review of rubbish facilities on the K&A over the past few months that included proposals on how to deal with fly-tipping and use of boaters’ bins by local residents.
Mark Stephens said: “The Hungerford bins are being replaced because the bin store was closed due to our waste contractor’s inability to access this bin within the terms of the Canal & River Trust’s national waste collection contract. This is not a satisfactory reason to close a bin location and I will source a local waste collection contractor, if necessary, who is able to empty this bin compound”.
Replacing the bins at Devizes Wharf had been dismissed as not viable by Mr Stephens because the land is owned by Wiltshire Council and the bins were removed due to misuse by local residents. However, boaters and local residents made further complaints including complaining about an increase in rats at the Wharf. This prompted the K&A Manager to agree at the K&A User Group meeting on 23rd April that he would speak to Wiltshire Council about re-instating these bins.
A review of recycling facilities on the K&A is also proposed; this is very timely in view of Wiltshire Council’s removal of all its mini-recycling centres in May 2014, leaving boaters with very few options for recycling their waste. Also under review is the general provision of facilities on the K&A; this is part of a wider review of the adequacy of facilities by CRT’s Navigation Advisory Group.
You can read Mark Stephens’ response of 4th April in full below.
Here is a link to CRT’s Navigation Advisory Group meetings and minutes
Thank you for your collective input to date on the subject of the provision of bins on the K&A for the use of boaters. Although an on-going and incomplete piece of work, I offer the following update. In addition, there are still a number of specific questions that I need to respond to and I will do this separately.
Among notable issues raised, I intend to revisit the current provision of recycling facilities on the K&A.
I accept that the following will not address some of the concerns that have been raised. I do however feel that the following provides an important context that needs to be set before moving forward with the ambition to make the K&A a better Waterway. I will also, separately, address specific queries that you have raised in the correspondence that you have sent me.
In order to take this work forward, I would be very willing to meet in order to review where we are now and where we aspire to get to. Moving on further, I believe we should widen this piece of work to also include other boater facilities including for example water-points and elsans.
I’ve attached the current provision of bins on the K&A; locations, capacity, frequency of emptying; I’ve shared this information with some of you already. This version has been revised; I’ve added approximate distances between locations in both miles and time cruising.
The Canal & River Trust aims to provide bin stores at a minimum frequency of 4hrs cruising time; on a pound without locks this equates to a distance between bins of approximately 15 miles. Locks are considered to take approx. 15 minutes to pass through, which is probably accurate enough for the purposes of this piece of work.
On the basis of the current provision, the distribution requirement is only marginally met in a couple of locations. I believe there is a shortfall of bin stores between Great Bedwyn and Kintbury; this would be remedied by reinstating the bins at Hungerford. The gap between Sells Green and Devizes is created by the Lock flight, that distorts journey time.
Providing further bin locations would obviously be an additional cost to the Waterway. In the context of prioritising essential works that must be done, almost invariably associated with visitor safety, it is presently difficult to justify allocating funds to achieve a better than required level of provision.
However, there are still actions that need to be undertaken to make the best of what we have.
Provision of Additional Bin Store
As described above, one length would specifically benefit from the provision (or reinstatement) of a bin compound and a collection; Great Bedwyn to Kintbury.
The most obvious solution to the Great Bedwyn to Kintbury length is to reinstate the Hungerford bin store. The Hungerford bin store was closed due to our waste contractor’s inability to access this bin within the terms of the Canal & River Trust’s national waste collection contract. This is not a satisfactory reason to close a bin location and I will source a local waste collection contractor, if necessary, who is able to empty this bin compound.
Management of Existing Bins: Fly-Tipping
Your correspondence highlights the abuse of some of our bin sites, particularly with respect to fly-tipping and unauthorised use of the bins by the general public.
This issue has been discussed with my Contracts Manager and Maintenance Manager and work will be undertaken to make these sites more secure from use by the general public. Roofing and locking bin stores should deter ‘casual’ fly-tipping; people who could but for whatever reason can’t be bothered to use facilities provided by the council.
Sites that specifically require addressing are;
Darlington Wharf: requires rebuilding to house larger bins. Bin store to incorporate a roof and a lockable door.
Bathampton: requires roof and locks
Dundas Wharf; less unauthorised access and use but would benefit from a roof and lockable door
Bradford; lockable door required.
I should note that issues at Great Bedwyn relating to fly-tipping were largely resolved by constructing a roof on the bin store. [NB it has been pointed out that there isn’t a roof on this bin store]. I would hope for a similar result at other locations and aside from the locations identified above, a programme of works is required to bring all of the bin stores to the same standard.
The bins at Devizes Wharf were taken away some years ago; they were not located on our property, they were routinely used more extensively by the public than by boaters and they were subject to frequent abuse, often being rolled into the canal. All of these issues could be overcome with some effort; it is not inconceivable to imagine an arrangement with the council that would allow us to reposition bins on the wharf that are suitably secured to deter fly-tipping. However, there are bins provided for boater use at the top of Caen Hill, Devizes, (approximately 1 mile distant) and at Horton (approximately 4 miles distant). Given the proximity of these facilities I have no immediate plans to provide and service an additional bin store. I have however been made aware of problems with rats at Devizes Wharf and I need to address this significant problem, probably with the assistance of the Local Authority.
To be addressed in greater detail. At present, recycling facilities are only provided in conjunction with Local Authorities who have been willing to work in partnership with us on this issue; notably Bath and North East Somerset and Wiltshire Council.
Alternative Arrangements for Waste Collection
During the last 3 months I have received many helpful suggestions and ideas for improving waste collection services on the Kennet and Avon. I have some general comments as follow;
Provision of Skips; skips cost far more than the existing bins to empty. Additionally they tend to attract more fly-tipping in their vicinity, irrespective of locks and are too large to place at our generally small, hard to access sites. Current bins are typically pushed to the nearest road access to be emptied into the rubbish lorry. 20 skips per week would cost around £2k to £3k to empty; around three time the cost of our current rubbish collection contract.
Routinely emptying rubbish barges, moored on the offside, will cost much more than emptying roadside bins. And I don’t consider the provision of these barges as necessary. I would also doubtless have comments relating to the appearance of these barges. It’s possibly for these reasons, along with regulations to waste carriage and handling, that rubbish barges have been to my knowledge largely abandoned.
Conclusions and Further Work
The current provision of bin locations on the K&A is generally compliant with the Canal & River Trust’s objectives for the provision of facilities. The provision of further locations would be over and above this standard and therefore, in the context of prioritised works that need to be done to maintain the canal in a safe condition for all visitors, unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future.
It is probably worth noting that the provision of bin stores is designed to accommodate boats that are generally moving along the canal. This being the case, boats making a journey are on balance likely to encounter a rubbish disposal area at least every four hours, which is considered to be sufficient. Most formal visitor moorings have disposal points within their vicinity. Where boaters choose to stop for up to two weeks at interim locations, it is quite possible that bins might be an hour or more walking distance from their boat.
From the above, my priorities will be to reinstate the bin at Hungerford and make existing bins stores more secure and less open to abuse by fly-tipping. Some stores, like the one at Darlington, need rebuilding completely to accommodate bins of a larger capacity.
I will continue to keep you informed of developments,