New bins are rubbish for disabled users

16 Nov 2022

Oldham Council has left the town centre filled with new bins which cannot be used by wheelchair-bound residents, after it failed to carry out any Equality Impact Assessment for their purchase.

Oldham's Rubbish Bins

After Crompton Councillor Louie Hamblett met with the head of the council's environmental services team to demonstrate the issues, two of the old bins have been reinstated, but Councillor Hamblett has written to Council Leader Amanda Chadderton to ask why no assessment was carried out, and to ask what the Council plans to do about the rest of the bins.

At the site meeting, Councillor Hamblett asked local resident Shona Farnworth - who has multiple disabilities - to demonstrate the impossibility of using the bin from her wheelchair, which clearly showed the difficulties. The bins can only be operated by either a footplate which cannot be reached by most in a wheelchair, or by a pull-down door which is impossible to reach over from a sitting position.

Councillor Hamblett said: "If the council were as resident-focused as they say, then an equality impact assessment should have been carried out. Everyone should be able to use the bins easily. That no-one realised that they were inaccessible until after they had been installed says everything about the failure of the Council to do its job properly."

The Council have now ensured that two bins without the footplate or pull-down door have been installed in the town centre, but Councillor Hamblett still wants universal accessibility, and to know why the Equality Impact Assessment was missed in the first place.

He continued: "I am grateful to the officer who immediately put forward a practical solution to improve the situation. However, it should not be the case that most of the bins remain unusable for people in wheelchairs.

"The Council continually fail to include Equality Impact Assessments in their reports despite it being raised on numerous occasions. This is what happens if you fail to do this - thousands of pounds spent on bins that residents can't use."