Plan to remove bins from The Downs in Bristol scrapped amid fears it would 'be chaos'

The bins on the Downs in Bristol are emptied daily but fill up quickly. Credit: Twitter/@Emmy_errata

A plan to remove bins from a popular Bristol beauty spot have been scrapped, amid fears it would lead to "chaos".

The Downs Committee - which manages both Clifton Down and Durdham Down - discussed the proposal after 'mountains of waste' built up in the area over the summer.

Downs supervisor Ben Skuse said removing bins would make people think about their waste and take it home with them.

The idea has worked elsewhere, Cotswold Water Park in Gloucestershire removed its bins as a pilot scheme in the summer and reported a steep fall in littering.

But members of The Downs Committee rejected proposals to take away the bins saying it could make the area "just vile".

'Mountains of waste'

There are 36 bins on the Downs but the council's parks team say they are unable to cope with the "mountains" of waste left beside overflowing bins.

The Downs Committee rejected proposals by the council to remove all 36 bins from the Downs

Downs supervisor Ben Skuse said he wanted to see the bins removed as it would mean "people are thinking about their waste, minimising it, taking it away, disposing of it correctly”.

He said putting rubbish in the bins was not disposing of it correctly, because it is not recycled effectively.

Mr Skuse said bins could be removed “all at once” or gradually over a number of years.

This idea was supported by Merchant Venturers Peter Rilett and David Powell.

Mr Powell said: “I think we should just do it. If you’ve got a bin, people think someone’s going to come and collect the rubbish.

"If there are no bins, it does encourage people to think ‘well I’ve got to do something else with rubbish’. To a certain extent, what have we got to lose?"

But councillors said they did not think it would work.

Cllr Jos Clark said the amount of rubbish on The Downs was an “absolute disgrace” but she did not think the public would take it home with them if the bins were removed.

“It could be chaos up there and just vile,” she said.

Litter has been a particular issue on the Downs over the summer. Credit: ITV

Cllr Geoff Gollop, who represents Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze, said residents would suffer if the bins were removed. 

“I don’t know how we would cope with the volume of rubbish that would be left behind, so I would be very concerned if we went down that route,” he said.

Cllr Carla Denyer said it would be "unreasonable" and "unrealistic" to remove the bins as there is a cafe and three ice-cream vans on The Downs.

"If we are allowing people to buy things with packaging then it’s quite reasonable for them to expect there to be a litter bin for them to dispose of the things they bought on The Downs," she added.

Cllr Steve Smith, who chairs the Downs Committee as part of his role as Lord Mayor of Bristol, said: “I’m not hearing wide support for a sort of big bang removal of bins but I’ll see if we can get some support for enforcement there and comms city-wide.”

Credit: Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service