Bin trials have helped Luton catch dodgy landlords

Luton’s bin collection change has had an unexpected bonus - it’s help catch some dodgy landlords.

The news came as councillors agreed to roll out food waste collections trials in Barnfield, Bushmead and Saints ward.

These weekly collections are the latest phase of the borough council’s plans to make savings on its household waste costs.

Money saved during the initial stages of the switch to fortnightly bin collections led to the food waste round being brought forward to the end of this month from May.

Councillor Tom Shaw told an executive meeting: “The trial’s underway at the moment.

“Every week it gets better,” he said. “People are getting used to it. It’s exactly as we suggested.

“There are a lot of people trying to blame us over any bit of flytipping in the town.

“When we investigate, it’s not true. What we have done is found a lot of unlicensed houses in multiple occupancy (HMOs).

“One of them resulted in a £67,000 fine.

“It’s working and recycling is up four per cent,” he added. “That gives us a big saving, which allows us to introduce the food waste round.

“Hopefully, if we can increase the savings even more, we’ll be able to fetch in more food waste rounds even quicker.

“We can only do that when we’ve achieved the savings.”

Councillor Shaw said the interviews with large families about the bin collections have been done again.

“They are coming round on our side over the recycling.

“We do need to start enforcement in certain parts of the town where people just can’t be bothered to do it, mostly rented accommodation.

“The landlord won’t enforce them. But hopefully we’re going to make that part of the private sector licensing agreement so that they’re responsible for the cleansing outside their properties.”

Cllr Aslam Khan said: “We need to speak to those landlords who are not responsible for the HMOs and when they throw their mattresses and other items on the street.

“We need to take action. We have got the powers to reinforce that, so it’s looking good.”

The council adopted a ten-year waste strategy, last March, with a vision of ‘Waste less, Recycle more’.

In November, the Liberal Democrat opposition group criticised the failure to coincide the new household collection schedule with the introduction of food waste bins.

Cllr Shaw said: “When people want interviews for the larger bins they can have that interview,” he said.

“We will look at giving them an extra large bin. It wasn’t happening, a hiccup I will personally apologise for.

“We will get it sorted out. We’re already in the process of sorting it all out because that kind of stuff should not be happening now.

“We’ll need another review in six month’s time to see how the food waste round has gone.

“If we can stop that stuff going to the tip then we’ll have more savings than you asked me for and we can reinvest that back into the service.”

Councillors agreed to have a further update on how the waste collections are progressing in six months’ time.