Sunday, November 13, 2016

Elderly neighbours threatened with fines for clearing up leaves that left one with broken wrist

A grandmother and her neighbour were threatened with council fines for cleaning up leaves. Ann Fowler and Margaret Baker cleared dozens of bags from their cul-de-sac in Winson Green, Birmingham, after the pathway became swamped with leaves. They had been concerned the street had become hazardous, which was proven when Mrs Baker, 71, slipped on the leaves and fractured her wrist and her thumb.

Then, Birmingham City Council threatened to fine the pair, as the bags have been slapped with notices deeming them ‘illegal garden waste’. Mrs Fowler, 76, said she had been left flabbergasted after she saw the notices, and is calling on the council to clear the dangerous path to prevent future accidents. She said: “My next-door neighbour and I cleared 25 bags of leaves from our road. My neighbour, Mrs Baker, slipped on the leaves and fractured her wrist and her thumb last Saturday.

“Now the council have come along and put stickers on the bags saying that we are going to be fined if we don’t moved them. I am 76 and my neighbour is 71. We have been cleaning the street for the past couple of weeks. We were trying to help, and now we are getting threatened with a fine. It is dangerous, and the council should be clearing them themselves.” Birmingham City Council claims although they recognise that the gesture was good-willed, that communities should notify them if they are planning local clean up action.

However, the council have now agreed to collect the bags and waive the fine. Darren Share, assistant director of waste management at Birmingham City Council, said: “It is often difficult for the council to distinguish the difference between fly-tipped waste and waste presented as a consequence of an independent community effort. We are really sorry to hear about the accident and apologise for any additional distress that our actions may have caused. We will arrange for the bags to be collected as soon as possible.”

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