LITTER and dog waste bins are not being replaced automatically by Copeland Council – and those that have been vandalised more than once won’t be replaced at all.

A new policy dictates that when a council-owned public bin is damaged, stolen or reaches the end of its life, an assessment – including cost, access, suitability of location and proximity of the nearest bin - must take place to decide if it will be replaced. Bins that are used infrequently may also be removed.

Additionally, dedicated dog waste bins are being phased out and replaced at their end of their life - if they meet the criteria set out - by regular bins, which dog-owners are permitted to use.

The litter bin policy is set to be formally agreed to Copeland’s Executive councillors next week, although many aspects of it have already been phased in.

The policy has prompted complaints from members of the public, particularly dog-walkers, who say that well-used bins have been removed and not replaced. It has caused waste to pile up in the sites where the bins used to be, they say, and the bins that remain to overflow. Mirehouse and Hensingham are said to be problem areas.

Copeland, which manages around 600 bins in the borough including 31 in Hensingham and 32in Mirehouse, says is has removed fewer than 10 bins in the last five years, either due to vandalism or at the request of residents.

Janice Carroll, the council’s head of waste, said: “We are working to make sure our bins are in the right places, and are spread more evenly across the borough.

“The collections are being monitored to identify those used less frequently. We have a full-time officer who empties litter bins when they are full (rather than on a regular rota basis.)

“Occasionally, litter bins have been misused for commercial waste, leaving them overfilled. When reported or found overflowing, we aim to empty them as soon as possible. Residents can help us by disposing of litter in their domestic waste bins at home.”