Families are furious about plans by a council’s bin police to question them about their medical history.
Officials in Plymouth, Devon, are to send a questionnaire to every household asking them to give intimate personal details about their family.
Householders are also being asked to nominate one person who will take legal responsibility for anything put in their bins.
The council is even asking how many children families have and whether they use disposable nappies.
The forms are to be sent to all homes in the city as part of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on bins.
The council wants to increase fixed penalties from £50 to £110 for those who put bins out early, fail to recycle, overfill wheelie bins or put the wrong rubbish in the wrong containers.
They are asking each household to nominate one person as responsible so it will be easier for them to prosecute without having to prove who put out the offending bins.
The council is also considering interviewing suspected bin offenders under caution in procedures similar to the way police question criminals.
The draft letter, which has been seen by opposition councilors, also asks how many people live at each address, whether they have any medical conditions and if their families use disposable nappies.
Officials from the Conservative-run council hope the information sent back by families will make it easier to prosecute or impose fixed penalties.
It follows the failure of a pioneering prosecution by Exeter City Council 45 miles away which failed because they could not prove that household waste in a recycling bin was put there by the householder.
The draft letter to all homes in Plymouth will set out what is and is not allowed in each type of bin.
The idea has caused fury among residents who blame the council for the debris left by late collections and rubbish spilled from the back of dustcarts.
Many residents say they would only take legal responsibility for their bins if they are fitted with locks to make sure nobody else uses them ounce they have been put on the street.
A Plymouth lawyer has advised that if residents do not sign the form the council would need to prove who is responsible.
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This article was posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 4:15 pm