COUNCILLORS are set to make a number of recommendations aimed at ensuring a smooth roll out of wheelie bins across Darlington next year.

Members of Darlington Borough Council’s scrutiny committee have been examining the practicalities of introducing almost 50,000 wheelie bins to homes across the town from May next year, ahead of collections starting in June.

The plans to bring wheelie bins to Darlington, one of the last local authority areas in the UK to still use black bags, has caused controversy, with a number of people against the proposals on the grounds of cost, safety and storage concerns.

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The council has committed to meeting with residents on a one-to-one basis if they have concerns about moving and storing a wheelie bin, with more than 400 visits carried out so far.

The scrutiny committee met today (Thursday, December 20) to discuss the wheelie bin roll out and to draft a series of recommendations that they hope will help both residents and council staff.

These include advising residents that they must store the bin inside the curtilage of their property at all times, unless it is out for collection; continuing consultation with residents and one-to-one visits and to encourage residents mark their bin with their house number in a space provided on the lid.

Investigations into individual streets and properties show that there will be a small number of properties in the borough that will keep black bags because wheelie bins would not be practical, although the majority will receive a wheelie bin.

Ian Thompson, assistant director for community services at the council, attended the meeting and said: “There might be plenty of people that don’t want a wheelie bin but the council’s default position is that everyone is getting a wheelie bin.

“There are a few properties in the borough that have no rear access and open straight on to the highway. There are very few reasons why someone would not get a wheelie bin.

“When officers go out to see residents and take a bin with them most people realise that they can deal with it and are more comfortable about getting one.”

Consultation about wheelie bins will continue in the New Year with further home visits, as well as sessions in local supermarkets where people can see the wheelie bins for the first time.