Row over ‘fire risk’ bins in Kilburn rages on despite new ‘safer lids’

Bins outside Dunbar House taken April 18 2018 (Picture: John Duffy)

Bins outside Dunbar House taken April 18 2018 (Picture: John Duffy) - Credit: Archant

Overflowing rubbish bins in a deprived part of Kilburn have led to a complaint against Brent Council over its alleged failure to tackle fire risks.

New bins outside Dunbar House (Picture: Brent Council)

New bins outside Dunbar House (Picture: Brent Council) - Credit: Archant

John Duffy, a former Labour party member who lost his independent seat in last week’s election, claims the council is ignoring fire risks at William Dunbar House, in Albert Road.

The council has hit back, saying it has made the bins safer by putting lids on them – despite photographs taken on April 18 apparently showing the bins lidless, exactly as they were a year ago.

Outspoken campaigner John sent the photos to Brent chief exec Carolyn Downs on April 24, 10 months after he had first contacted her over the issue.

He told the Brent & Kilburn Times: “The waste bins are directly under people’s balconies. In hot weather, all it takes is for someone to throw a lit cigarette in there and it could all go up.“

John first raised the issue with Ms Downs in June and continued to lobby officers throughout the year – but said he was “ignored”.

“A year on,” he lamented, “the council has learnt nothing from Grenfell and is ignoring the fire risks the placement of rubbish bins pose.”

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The bins aren’t his only concern: “There’s also netting that goes the full length of Dunbar House, which could allow fire to spread and toxic fumes to penetrate people’s homes.”

A spokesman for Brent Council said: “The open-top bins were removed, but that led to waste being dumped in the same area where the bins had been located.

“There is a long-term plan to move the bin location once redevelopment has happened at the site, but in the meantime the old bins without lids were replaced with new metal bins with lids, which was considered to be an acceptable solution with interested parties at the time.” The council sent this newspaper photographs of the new bins with lids, but could not say when they had been taken.

John said: “What I really object to is the way council tenants are treated in comparison with residents of the new £1million flats in the area. Do officers honestly believe bins would be placed directly under a balcony in one of South Kilburn’s more expensive blocks?”

But the council responded: “Our approach to removing illegally dumped rubbish and collecting waste in Brent is the same across the entire borough, regardless of location.”