Couple fuming after being fined hundreds for putting their bins out at the wrong time
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Carla Grande and John Rowe, from Walthamstow in London, were accused of ‘fly-tipping’ and were hit with the hefty fine from local council.
The couple were whacked with a £400 fine for putting their bins out at the wrong time, but decided to challenge the council over the decision.
Grande said they put their bins out after mistakenly looking at part of the council’s website, which didn’t specify the times of bin collections.
The couple accused Waltham Forest Council and enforcement contractor 3GS of sending them ‘round and round in circles’ after they attempted to have the fine reviewed, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Grande urged the council to make its collection time rules clearer to residents and to take a look at how 3GS deals with appeals such as theirs.
She said: “I feel there is no clear way of appealing or representing when you’re issued a fine… 3GS are essentially carrying out a third-party process.
“They are bullies to put it simply, they tell you to go to the council and you go round and round in circles.”
The couple sent numerous emails to 3GS, their MP and local councillors - with the council eventually knocking the fine down to £150: the amount given to people who are caught littering.
According to the Mirror, an anonymous council officer later admitted that this reduction was because the couple’s rubbish had been ‘intended to be collected’ rather than being deliberately dumped or fly-tipped.
Appearing at a council climate change scrutiny committee earlier this week, Grande said: “I would like justification as to why this is, I believe that it’s because I am not going to give up.
“If it’s a littering fine, it should be a littering fine from the start, not a fly-tipping fine for putting bags out, not after sending emails for two-and-a-half months thinking I’m going to court.”
Director of neighbourhoods, Jarlath Griffin, told the committee it would be ‘really difficult’ to have specific bin collections times on every household’s portal on the council website.
He added: “There are about 72 clear-all routes in the borough where residents put their waste out, the service goes through and reminds properties through a range of means how to go about this.
“The system has been the same system for five to ten years now, we’ve never really changed it from Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and we try to keep it the same as we go through the whole process.”