Municipal contractor Biffa, Wirral council and police have launched a campaign to protect local bin men from threatening and dangerous driving.
The number of “near-misses” from poor driving in close proximity to Biffa crews while working (pictured above and below) has increased, according to Biffa business manager Gary Robinson. He said crews were endangered by impatient drivers refusing to be held up for short periods.
The Wirral campaign asks drivers to be tolerant and to drive safely around Biffa staff and refuse vehicles. It involves a police-supported protocol for reporting, investigating and prosecuting offences that could cause injury or damage.
Local police have committed to investigating such cases when they are reported. Offenders can face fines, community service or court prosecution.
- cars driven on pavements
- cars driving too close to crews
- cars hitting vehicles, crew or bins
- drivers’ threatening and abusive behaviour towards staff
A Biffa spokesperson told MRW there were 155 incidents in Wirral alone last year, which is why the council and Biffa approached the police. There were 670 reports of similar incidents across the 40-plus local authorities where Biffa has contracts. Three Biffa staff were hit by vehicles.
Biffa said this was the first time the police had backed such a campaign, having declined to do so in central Bedfordshire. However, in some council areas such as Middlesbrough, Biffa has a good relationship with the police and a campaign is not considered necessary.
The Environmental Services Association (ESA) described the Wirral initiative as a model for other waste management companies and police forces.
An ESA spokesperson told MRW: “We are all for anything that prevents violence or abuse to our members.”
Robinson commented: “My crews are only trying to do their job. That’s what local residents want and expect them to do. All we’re asking for is some consideration by other road users. Our vehicles don’t hold up traffic for long, and drivers are usually soon on their way, so it really isn’t necessary to get impatient, frustrated or angry.”
- Last November MRW reported that violent and abusive behaviour towards refuse and recycling collectors was increasing with the ESA collating reports for the police.