A couple from London have been fined £400 for putting their bins out at the wrong time of day. Carla Grande, 32, and her partner John Rowe accused enforcement company 3GS of being “bullies”.
They claimed 3GS and Waltham Forest Council had them going “round and round in circles” when they asked for a review of the fine.
The pair had recently moved in when they put their bin bags out on the street outside their flat at the wrong time.
It came after they checked part of the council’s website which didn’t show specific collection times, according to MyLondon.
Carla, speaking at a council climate change scrutiny committee meeting on Monday, 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.”
She added: “They are bullies to put it simply. They tell you to go to the council and you go round and round in circles.”
Emails from the company seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service show 3GS repeatedly demanding the payment without showing evidence it had reviewed the couple’s case.
Carla said after much back-and-forth for two-and-a-half months, involving countless emails to 3GS, the council, her local councillors and her MP, the fine was reduced to £150, which is the amount issued for littering offences.
A council officer said this was because the couple’s bin bags were “intended to be collected” rather than deliberately fly-tipped.
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Carla told the committee: “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 said it would be “really difficult” to disclose waste collection times for each household’s portal on the council’s website.
He said: “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.”
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Mr Griffin continued: “The system has been the same system for five to 10 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.”
He added there is “a way” to challenge 3GS’ fines which is “managed carefully”.
He admitted the £400 fines for fly-tipping are “quite expensive”, but stopped short of justifying why 3GS doesn’t issue residents with £150 littering fines instead.
Earlier this year Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy admitted her team “regularly” received complaints like this and had started “monitoring the experiences” of residents trying to appeal the fines.
Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Climate and Air Quality at Waltham Forest Council, told the Daily Star: “Keeping the streets of Waltham Forest clean is a priority.
“Residents in properties with no frontage or bin storage should place waste bags directly in the street on the designated collection days and times.
“These occur three times a week to ensure collection and minimise risks to public health, reduce fly-tipping, and keep residents’ neighbourhoods tidy and safe.
“This system has been in place for several years and is similar to the approach taken by other London boroughs.”
3GS has been approached for comment.
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