Cambria Bridge: poor waste facilitation continues

22nd August 2021

A pile of rubbish bags on a narrow stretch of pavement on Cambria Bridge with a lorry parked in the road make it difficult to pass by

A lot of our work has been held up this year by the borough council. In one avenue of enquiry, we have been asking them for waste facilitation at Cambria Bridge: secure bins for residents and a bin by the local shop for customers and passers by. Many of the residents in this area have small flats and don't have the space to keep rubbish indoors for anything up to 2 weeks. One person I spoke with had a family who were all living in a small flat. Are they supposed to live with rubbish piled up in indoors? Residents need somewhere secure to put rubbish. Eurobins would seem to be a good option, hence we made the suggestion. However, the borough council have said that this is impractical. We continue waiting for an answer as to why. It's surely more practical than not being able to walk on the pavement, making the area looking awful, attracting rats and other wildlife to tear bin bags open, and attracting further litter and disrespect.

These problems could have been avoided had there been consideration for waste facilitation when the landlords of these houses were given planning permission for them to be divided into flats. The borough council are shirking responsibility for this situation. They have installed cameras and threatened people including the shop keeper with fines. This has not sorted out problems and has upset the shop keeper. Waste is still dumped in the same spot attracting further rubbish. The shop keeper's not happy because he was threatened with a fine although he was trying to keep the area tidy. He has repeatedly tried to tell the borough council that the waste pile is the source of most of the litter, including by the front of shop. That's doing his business no favours yet his comments have been ignored.

What about the cameras? They don't seem to be having much of an effect, as piles of rubbish continue to be dumped in plain sight of them. So what are they for?

Some of the problems have been pushed around the corner, creating further problems. Apparently a local resident, sick of the situation, took the huge amount of dumped rubbish and threw it all over the road. Is this how we are supposed to get representation?

A huge pile of rubbish strewn in the alleyway at the back of Cambria Court

Not far away in Milton Road and a lack of waste facilatation is causing similar problems. Residents there have also been told by the council to keep their waste indoors or risk being fined. A council representative didn't meet with a group of residents there as arranged so one resident took matters into their own hands, providing a nifty solution to keep waste together and the area clean and tidy. They told me that the lack of waste facilitation attracts litter and that, since booking was required at the waste and recycling centre, more waste was being fly-tipped there; dumped mattresses especially.

Sadly positive change is being hindered by those within the borough council who are unwilling to listen and take responsibility. We would like adequate representation to sort out these and other issues. We are in the midst of a climate emergency of which our work is part. Litter is pollution, a major factor in disease (see the health section of our library). A core aspect to learn from Covid-19 is that we need to care for the environment and its inhabitants. So to whom it may concern in Swindon Borough Council, kindly stop blaming everyone else and take some responsibility. You are letting us all down.

This is part 2 of this series. Other blogs here.

Article by Ben Bell