Reader letter: Why is brown bin scheme not equal?

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Just over a year ago, due to our changing family circumstances, we decided to move house.

What poor deluded fools we were to assume that, as this is a process that happens all the time, it is, therefore, a realistic feat.

After nine months of angst, stress, utter frustration and all-consuming grief we finally moved into our ‘new’ house, having also moved into rented accommodation between selling and buying.

You might assume that the future would be plain sailing. Not so, in the world of Amber Valley Borough Council (AVBC).

We have moved one mile up the road. We have lived in Belper for 20 years and bought into the brown bin garden waste scheme at its inception many years ago at an annual cost of £40. I, naively, assumed that continuing to use the scheme would not be a problem at our new house. Upon arrival, there was no brown bin. I phoned the council to explain, expecting them to deliver one. I was questioned as to why I hadn’t taken our old bin with us. ‘Do people really take their bins?’ I asked. Given my state of mind following the utter trauma that is the house selling/ buying process it was a miracle I had ‘packed’ all the people (aka my husband and kids!), never mind the bin! ‘Yes’ was the clear reply, the inference being I really must be incredibly stupid. Accepting that I was indeed mentally challenged, I asked for a new brown bin. I was told that this was not possible as they were ‘up to capacity’ and that no decisions had been made regarding the future of the service. To cut a long story short, I was advised to go back to our old house, talk to the new inhabitants, ask for our old bin back and then, with that permission, thecouncil would be able to deliver it to our new house. I dutifully did as asked. Not so surprisingly, the new folks did not wish to part with what is now a free service.I spoke to the manager of the relevant service (or lack of one) at AVBC. I questioned him about the environmental impact of our now weekly car trips to the tip (fortunately for us we have a car and the capacity – others may not), the ‘fairness’ of such a ‘system’ (or not), and the possibility of a council tax rebate due to the lack of a service. I was informed that such a service is ‘discretionary’, new decisions would be made in November, I should keep an eye on the website (‘Thanks, mate’) and that he ‘was stuck between a rock and a hard place’. Well - I am stuck between an ever growing pile of weeds and mountain of grass cuttings.

George Orwell said through the mouth of Napoleon in his satirical novel ‘Animal Farm’ – ‘All of us ... are equal, but some ... are more equal than others’. Such is the case if you pay your council tax to AVBC. I suggest that AVBC get their act together. Either provide a service or don’t. But everyone should have equal access to it.

Debbie Maher

The Spinney, Belper