My day on the streets with the bin men

Bags of rubbish and overflowing bins. Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
Bags of rubbish and overflowing bins. Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

As Pendle’s representative in Parliament, it is important for me to understand not just our local area and people’s views, but also the challenges people face in their jobs.

To help give me an insight into this, over the past couple of years, I have been out with Pendle Council’s licensing team, accompanied a postwoman on her delivery round, observed frontline policing, spent a day with a paramedic, done a number of shifts behind the bar in local pubs and worked alongside an apprentice engineer.

I was therefore pleased to spend a day with the council’s environmental and recreation services department looking at refuse collections, recycling and street cleaning.

I started the day with a grey bin refuse collection team in Nelson, before joining a team collecting recyclable waste in Colne. The drivers, Tim and Gareth, showed me many of the challenges they face on a daily basis as we weaved through parked cars and up back streets.

I then spent some time with Peter, an environmental crime officer, following up reports of fly tipping in the countryside and piles of rubbish in people’s back yards.

The council spends a huge amount of money on information and education. However in some cases enforcement action against individual offenders is the only way of solving a problem. I am in regular contact with the council on these types of issues, and frequently the issues are resolved quickly, however there are some persistent problems.

Finally I went out with Phil in a street sweeper around Colne, part of the council’s never ending fight against litter and met the team at the Fleet Street Depot. Despite normally dealing with the complaints when things don’t go to plan, I was hugely impressed by what I saw and the dedication of the men and women employed by the council. My thanks go to David Walker and the team for looking after me so well.