At Monday evening's Environment Committee there was a report on giving the council more powers to ensure that people put their bins out and also bring them back in. This might not appear to be the biggest issue in the world but in some areas bins left out for weeks on end cause misery. So in general I welcome this report. In the West End there have been on-going issues with bins being left out for weeks on end and this is impacting on the quality of life of people in the surrounding areas.
Whilst I accept that more should be done to ensure that bins are put away. I do hope that the council will not be heavy-handed in the application of this. That action will only be taken against persistent repeat offenders who refuse to co-operate with the council and their neighbours. This is not about people being made to do what the council tells them but rather about people being good neighbours and responsible members of the community.
We must ensure that action is not taken against people like shift workers and we must ensure that those who need assistance receive the appropriate assistance. It is crucial that these powers are not used as a cash-cow for the council.
Once these powers come into force it will be up to the Procurator Fiscal to decide whether or not to take action. I absolutely accept that the Procurator Fiscal will have many more serious issues to deal with. But we must also make it abundantly clear to the Procurator Fiscal that bins being left out for weeks on end has an impact of the quality of life of people in the West End and elsewhere. There are people who cannot walk along their pavement because of bins being left out. Parents with prams and people using wheelchairs end up on the road. Therefore the Procurator Fiscal should take this matter seriously, as the council does, because taking appropriate action could make a huge difference to the quality of life for many people across Dundee.