Concerns raised about overflowing bins at Devon beauty spot

A campaign is calling for more bins or more frequent emptying of bins in Torquay. Credit: Debbie Hye

A review into the number of bins at a Devon beauty spot is to be carried out due to what one resident described as a "tragic" amount of litter being left behind.

Babbacombe Downs in Torquay has been described as "one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Torbay", but it has been plagued by litter in recent months.

Local resident Debbie Hye has taken a series of photographs through January and February, which show overflowing bins and litter strewn around the area.

She says rubbish is regularly blown onto cliffs and into the see.

St Marychurch councillor Hazel Foster has supported a campaign to prevent littering in the area. She has asked Torbay Council for more bins, or more frequent emptying, to tackle the problem.

Litter on Babbacombe Downs on Sunday, February 28. Credit: Debbie Hye

But she said she had been told the council considered there were already enough bins in place.

A council spokesperson said later the authority is aware of the concerns at Babbacombe and was due to start a review of bins across Torbay in April to assess provision at individual sites. 

Debbie Hye, who lives in St Marychurch, said: "I have got pictures of overflowing bins during January when the conditions were sub-zero. 

“If rubbish is left there in the evening, we know that it has been there for 12 hours before it is emptied. 

“Rubbish blows over the cliff-top and through the railings, it is heartbreaking how much plastic and rubbish is down there. There are tonnes of it blowing over the cliffs and down into the sea.”

She added: “Personally I think it is one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Torbay, and it is just tragic to see it like that. Rubbish has blown through the railings on to the cliffs and will never be retrieved.”

Cllr Hazel Foster said she had taken up the concerns of local residents about litter on the Downs with Torbay Council, which supplies the bins and organises collections through a contractor.

The councillor said: “The council got back to me and said they have done an assessment and no more collections are needed. I would like to see the council taking action on this. There need to be more collections and more litter bins around.

“When lockdown restrictions are lifted, more and more people will want to go and walk around the Downs. They might want to go and have a picnic, and if the council doesn’t empty the bins often enough, you are just going to get littering.

“There is a bin which was set on fire in the summer. When I asked about replacing it, they said no, they are not going to replace it, because they have done an assessment and this bin is not needed. No extra bins are needed, so they are not going to do anything. It is just not on.

“People are going there to have a walk and exercise, and with the fine weather it is going to be a hotspot. 

“If the council doesn’t do anything about it, it is just going to get worse. Residents should not have to go out during lockdown and pick up the litter themselves.”

Last July after the easing of the first lockdown restrictions the authority joined a national campaign to put up posters at popular sites including Babbacombe with the message “Bin it or take it home”. 

A Torbay Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of the concerns that have been raised, and will shortly be conducting a review on bin provision across the whole of Torbay.

“The outcomes of the review will allow us to fully assess the right level of provision at individual sites. We are anticipating the review will start in April 2021, with a completion date of October 2021.” 

Credit: Ed Oldfield, Local Democracy Reporter

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