Unpopular plans to halve the number of public litter bins and let grass verges grow longer across Bracknell Forest have been ditched after a public backlash.

Proposals to scrap between 450-500 litter bins – out of 900 across the borough – as well as mow grass verges in residential areas less often were touted at Bracknell Forest Council in December. They were included in suggested cost-saving measures to be implemented from April.

But Bracknell Forest residents warned the plans would lead to more litter on the streets, after the council asked the public to comment on the plans.

One person said the plans were ‘an absolute disgrace when at peak times the bins are overflowing with rubbish.’ They said: “There is enough litter on the ground already without encouraging some people to just throw litter on the floor.

“We have a tremendous number of ‘litter louts’ in Bracknell, especially on school routes!”

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Another said volunteer litter pickers would be forced to pick up the slack. They said: “You already rely heavily on a small band of council tax paying, dedicated volunteer litter pickers. This would increase the need for these wonderful ‘wombles’.”

Others warned the plans were a ‘false economy,’ predicting that the council would have to spend more on picking up litter from the streets.

On a similar note, some people said that cutting grass verges less often would leave Bracknell Forest looking ‘unkempt’. One person warned that grass could grow over onto footpaths.

Opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors also opposed the plans. On litter bins, the Conservatives warned: “Most humans are inherently lazy and will not go searching for a litter bin. Many will just discard the litter if there is no bin in the immediate vicinity.”

They also warned that grass left to grow longer could block drivers’ views at junctions.

Liberal Democrat group leader Mike Forster said the litter bin proposal was ‘ill-judged and counter-productive.’ He said it would ‘almost certainly lead to an increase in littering, requiring more expenditure on street cleaning, and possibly create health hazards.’

But both parties said they agreed with the budget overall, which council bosses say is aimed at plugging a £5.3 million funding gap.

Council documents say the Labour council’s executive committee – its leading group of councillors – agreed to drop the proposals following the public feedback.

However the document says this will increase expected spending by £46,000 – the amount reducing grass cutting was expected to save between April this year to April 2025.

The plans to remove litter bins were also expected to save £30,000 from the following budget in April 2025. The executive committee is expected to approve the new budget proposals at a meeting on Tuesday, February 6.

The budget will then have to be voted on by all councillors at a meeting on February 21.