Move to cut littering by removing bins on Regent’s Canal rubbished

An overflowing bin on a towpath in Camden. The Canal and Rivers Trust are removing bins along canals

An overflowing bin on a towpath in Camden. The Canal and Rivers Trust are removing bins along canals and waterways in a move to cut littering. - Credit: Archant

A plan to remove bins to reduce littering on waterways including the Regent’s Canal has kicked up a stink.

The Canal and River Trust (CRT) plan to remove 40pc of bins from towpaths came to light after it was revealed in a meeting between the body and the London branch of the National Barge Travellers Association (NBTA).

But CRT’s experiment – which would see bins return if the removal doesn’t decrease littering – has been described as a joke.

NBTA deputy chair Marcus Trower said: “When they told us I thought they were joking.

“To store them and put them back if it doesn’t work sounds like a dance routine with bins. This plan must be in the CRT’s top 10 list of bad ideas. If the public have nowhere to put their litter, it will be thrown on the ground and get into the water. I hope there’s a serious rethink.”

Mr Trower has urged the CRT – manager of 80 per cent of waterways including the canal – to share the evidence to support the view less bins results in less litter and consider emptying bins more to tackle overflowing.

“When questioned about the frequency at which bins are emptied, CRT’s vague response stated “some daily, some weekly, some depend on season”. This is simply not good enough - perhaps they should have a clear policy on emptying bins before they start removing them,” he said.

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A CRT spokesman, said: “In London, a number of litter bins were being mistreated and used by people to fly tip and leave bulk waste.

“This means the bins in question were overflowing more quickly than we could empty them. They looked unsightly.

“We’ve not removed any of the waste sites where boaters can leave domestic rubbish. We’re hoping to improve the facilities we offer to boaters.

“People walking along the towpath will have to carry their litter a little further to put it in a bin, or maybe even take it home – as they would when visiting the countryside.

“We’re sorry if this causes a small inconvenience for anyone, but it’s important we provide a service we can maintain, and isn’t abused.”

Primrose Hill resident and blogger Joanna Reeves commented: “I really don’t see how removing bins can possibly help fight littering. People can’t use bins that aren’t there.”