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Council bin lorry written off after skidding on leaves

09 Nov 2023 4 minute read
Flintshire Council bin lorries

A council bin lorry was written off having tipped over when skidding on wet leaves along an unadopted road earlier this year.

The incident in Flint was one of a trio which took place place between October 2022 and January, leading to a Streetscene review of how the authority collects residential waste along Flintshire’s unadopted roads.

Potential risk of injury to staff and damage to vehicles is at the forefront of a report going to Flintshire Council’s environment scrutiny committee next week.

It will ask members to consider a new policy for waste and recycling collections for properties that are located on private or unadopted roads.

The report to councillors states: “The trigger for this review stemmed from three serious incidents that occurred between October 2022 and January 2023.

“These incidents not only posed a significant risk of injury to our employees, but also led to considerable damage to the vehicles operated by the council, all of which can lead to increased costs.

“The report proposes changes for some properties to protect employees from injury and to prevent the risk of spending unnecessary money on vehicle repairs and maintenance and damage caused where the roads have fallen into a state of disrepair.”


Criteria will be established for assessing roads and conditions that will need to be met for collections to continue to take place from the boundary of a property, accepting that suitable indemnity agreements are issued for acceptable roads.

The report to councillors states that vehicles will travel along private or unadopted roads allowing residents to present their bins or recycling as though the road were adopted.

Unadopted roads are not maintained by the council’s highways department. A legal duty to maintain these roads still exists, but the responsibility lies with the owners of the road, which is often the owners of any properties fronting that road.

A private road is a road that is owned and maintained by a private individual, organisation or company rather than by the council.

There are 585 unadopted and private roads in Flintshire, and risk assessments have taken place at each location looking at factors ranging from road width to potholes, ditches, overhanging trees and soft verges.

Under a new policy, indemnity agreements will be required to be signed by residents who live along these routes.

Land ownership

The report says: “If the council agrees to collect waste from an unadopted or private road then any indemnity agreement would need to be clear in respect of land ownership and responsibility, ensuring the safety of collection crews and the public, and indemnify the council from any damage the collection vehicles may cause using the roads.

“It would also need to be clear that the council could cease to access such roads to collect waste at any time should it be necessary to do so. If the landowner of the unadopted/private road does not sign an indemnity agreement, then a collection from the nearest adopted highway will be necessary.”

Details about the incidents which have led to the review have been included in the report;

The first incident occurred on October 3, 2022, when a waste collection vehicle lost control on an unadopted lane, veering into an adjacent field in Lixwm causing damage to the property and the vehicle had to be recovered subsequently.

On December 30, 2022, another waste collection was subject to damage as it became lodged in a grass verge on an unadopted lane whilst manoeuvring to avoid a damaged section of the lane in Mold.

Minor damage was caused to the vehicle and the council incurred costs to recover the vehicle in challenging conditions at the time. The vehicle was repaired immediately and returned to service the following day.

On January 5, 2023, a waste collection vehicle navigating an unadopted road in Flint skidded on wet leaves, which ultimately caused the vehicle to tip onto its side. The vehicle was subsequently written off due to the extent of the damage caused.

Councillors will discuss the report and its proposals at the environment scrutiny meeting on Tuesday (November 14).

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6 months ago

Sounds to me like the three incidents were down to driver error rather than just road conditions. No doubt if FCC alter their collections, this will be reflected in the council tax charge on the properties.

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