Regular contributor Samantha writes:
Following the recent dreadful state of the roads behind Victoria Parade in Ramsgate after the rubbish has been collected I wrote to Thanet Council to complain. Here is their response:
'Your comment concerning spilt waste is common at this time of year. Due to the actions of local seagulls it is a prevalent problem, it is one of the main reasons that we are gradually introducing wheeled bins into the district. It is appreciated that a number of properties will be unsuitable for wheeled bins, at the current time those properties will continue with the sack/dustbin weekly collection service.
As the number of wheeled bins increases this enables us to reduce sweeping in those areas and concentrate on areas where we either have a sack collection system or other litter issues i.e. other areas with heavy footfall like town centres.
In the interim period it is clearly the householders responsibility to securely contain waste prior to collection. I appreciate that may be difficult, however that does not change the legal obligation. In addition to using sacks you may also place the sacks in a dustbin for secure containment, alternately some residents have advised me that placing a sheet over the bags offers an effective deterrent.
Our refuse crews are required to collect suitably contained waste, they do not have the time to act as street cleaners, if they did so a number of other households would not receive a waste collection on the right day. For this reason we try to program sweeping as close to refuse day as possible. This is not always achieved due to staff holidays, an obvious problem at this time of year, or sickness, however our cleansing teams will consider how to improve this aspect in your area.'
Hmm. So let's translate that from the Uranian, shall we?
1. You're one of a long line of whingers.
2. Don't blame us blame the seagulls.
3. We're introducing wheelie bins which will sort the problem, but don't count on getting one before the next ice age.
4. You probably won't get wheelie bins where you are anyway.
5. When enough wheelie bins have been rolled out in other areas your street cleaner will probably be redeployed to help our cafe culture pals who are far too important/lazy/cheapskate to clear up their own mess.
6. We just said it was the seagulls' fault but actually it's yours. However, we won't bother enforcing any of these 'legal obligations' on inconsiderate householders who dump their bin bags on the pavement all week.
7. Staff holidays are an obvious problem at this time of year, so obvious in fact that we haven't bothered to make any alternative arrangements. So it's no wonder the place looks like a shithole at a time when many people will be, er, taking their holidays in the area.
8. Er, that's it.
Kuh! And to think people actually get paid to manage this mess!