Charges to dispose of sharps bins in Fenland delayed until next year as council look for “alternative solutions”

Petition to drop the charges for sharps bins for Fenland residents.

Petition to drop the charges for sharps bins for Fenland residents. - Credit: Archant

Plans to enforce a charge of £8 a time to dispose of sharps bins for needles and clinical waste in Fenland have been delayed until next year.

Cllr Virginia Bucknor.

Cllr Virginia Bucknor. - Credit: Archant

The charge for “ad-hoc collections” of clinical waste was due to start from Saturday September 1.

The move came as the NHS told local authorities they would no longer take back clinical waste at dispensaries and clinics.

But Fenland District Council announced today (September 3) that they have met with the NHS and asked them to delay their plans until next year to allow for “sensible alternative solutions to be put in place”.

Council bosses say there are around eight thousand registered diabetics in Fenland and if half of those received clinical collections four times a year it would cost them an estimated £130,000 a year.

Last month outraged residents launched a petition gathering more than 600 signatures against the plans.

Campaigner Councillor Virginia Bucknor said today’s announcement was still “illogical”.

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“This is still terrible and it is clear that the council have not done their research into this at all,” she said.

“They have not thought of a sensible solution, it is nonsensical and illogical.

“No other council is to take this up so I cannot understand the logic that Fenland has to think it would be acceptable.

“It affects all age groups and is an issue that has not been discussed with councillors at all.

“There has been stupid thinking behind this.”

In a statement released by Fenland District Council this morning, they state: “Waste authorities in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (The Recap Partnership) have met with the NHS and asked them to delay their plans to stop taking clinical waste until next year to allow for sensible alternative solutions to be put in place for customers, such as community collection points.

“Fenland District Council and the other Recap authorities are also liaising with local pharmacy association representatives and NHS England to see if the existing community collection points for sharps collections can be maintained.

“As a result of the current options open to customers the council has such small numbers of customers who could request a clinical collection that the costs are manageable.

“However, should the NHS turn customers away from existing arrangements then this could place a large burden on the authority and create thousands of additional specialist waste collections from doorstep that are currently not taking place.

“The NHS inform us that they will continue to provide clinical waste collections from pharmacies, but these collections will no longer include returned sharps boxes from next year.

“We are informed that across Cambridgeshire alone there are 45,000 registered diabetics along with other customers who administer their own medicines at home.”

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