Bin lorry iPad plans slammed

Town hall bosses were today accused of insulting taxpayers with plans to give binmen £400 iPad gadgets to do their rounds.

Bury Council, facing budget cuts of £18 million, is reportedly to buy 22 of the tablet computers to mount on dashboards guiding bin wagons around the town in Greater Manchester.

The council, which will not say how much they have spent on the Apple devices, claims it will help save cash by improving collection rates, customer service standards and boost recycling.

Critics say the same job could be done with a pen and paper.

Robert Oxley, campaign manager of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "It beggars belief that a council making huge savings can find this money to splash out on iPads.

"Residents want bin services that are reliable and efficient, not council staff monitoring what they're throwing out with expensive gimmicks.

"It's an insult to local residents who are tightening their belts in tough times that the council is wasting their money on fanciful ideas like this."

Bury Council, which must make £18 million in savings over the next three years, is buying 22 of the iPads, one for each bin wagon, which if bought in shops for around £400, comes to a bill of £8,800.

The devices must also be mounted in bin wagon cabs and binmen will also have to be trained to use the gadgets.

The scheme is due to be presented to councillors in a report by officers but has reportedly already been rubber-stamped as going ahead.

No-one at Bury Council, or councillors contacted by the Press Association, was available today to verify the information or give comment.

A spokesman at the Town Hall said: "They are not dealing with that today. They don't deem it to be an emergency."

There was no information about the scheme on Bury Council's website.

It is understood the iPads will be used to compile a list of residents who do not recycle and who needs assistance in putting their bins out.

Council management claims the new scheme will cut down on paperwork, which can get dirty and lost in cabs.

Drivers will also be able log households which do not leave bins out or those that are damaged or overweight.

All properties that do not leave recycling bins out will be recorded on the iPads. Advice letters will then be sent out.

The council hope the scheme will cut the number of missed collections and reduce costly follow-up visits in trucks.

Bury currently has the second lowest recycling rate and recycles the least amount of paper and cardboard of all the councils in Greater Manchester.

The local authority is currently spending £14 million on collection, disposal and landfill charges, and this will rise to £21 million in three years' time.

Source: PA