Four-weekly bin collections start across Welsh county

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Media captionHomeowners say the four-weekly bin collection pilot has been “horrendous”

Controversial four-weekly bin collections will be rolled out across a county on Monday – the first area of Wales to make the move.

Waste destined for landfill will now only be collected once a month in Conwy county following a trial.

It has been met with controversy, with residents and councillors calling it “unfair” and claiming the trial brought more rats, seagulls and flies.

Conwy council said it had addressed concerns and it could save £390,000.

Many parts of the UK are now moving towards three-weekly bin collections in a bid to cut down on residual waste and increase recycling.

But a year-long trial for four-weekly collection – brought in for 11,000 homes in Conwy county in 2016 – caused a stink.

Many residents are still unhappy about the changes, and have said the rubbish causes a smell, breeds maggots and attracts mice and rats.

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Bill Darwin

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Residents claim their bins are often overflowing

Some have also admitted to burning their waste in a bid to reduce the amount of rubbish in their bins.

“It’s the length of time that’s the problem, not the quantity,” one resident said.

“It festers. It’s as simple as that. The whole area is plagued with flies now in the summer.

“We’ve bought an incinerator so we burn the majority of the rubbish, which is not good for the environment.

“But we have animals and they refused to pick up animal waste, so it has to go in black bag. It sits there for a month then.”

Families in particular have reported having issues with bins that are too full.

“I think it’s dreadful. They should be emptied regularly,” another resident said.

“It’s more than full after two weeks and I burn some of it. You’re not supposed to do that, but you have to otherwise the bin is absolutely bursting.

“It is more manageable at three weeks, but I think four weeks is a step too far, especially for families.”

The decision to roll out the four-weekly collections was signed off by the cabinet in January, despite councillors voting to scrap the scheme in November 2017 in favour of three-weekly collections.

It came despite councillors expressing concern that the county was “not ready” for the new system and that more people would struggle with overflowing bins.

In response, the cabinet put extra measures in place to help residents recycle, including free collection of large items, free nappy bins for grandparents who look after children and bespoke collections for people who miss having bin collections if they are on holiday.

The drive for more recycling is being made across the country, with authorities facing fines if they fail to meet targets.

Last year it was announced that a target for 64% of waste to be recycled in Wales by 2019-20 had been met four years early.

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