THE standard of parking in some areas is a load of rubbish – and a Fife councillor was there to witness it.

After problems encountered by the refuse collectors, including verbal abuse and near misses from inpatient motorists in their cars, were highlighted recently, Ross Vettraino decided to join a team out on the road.

The chairman of the environment, protective services and community safety committee, he also encountered some of the issues with getting a bin lorry down some of Fife's narrow streets.

Cllr Vettraino said: "I believe in a ‘hands on’ approach and I wanted to see for myself the difficulties with which the council’s refuse collectors have to contend in the course of collecting refuse in streets, which are never designed to accommodate more than a few vehicles at any time, far less the numbers that we now see as a consequence of the vehicle explosion of the past few decades.

“The problems arise, not just from the numbers of vehicles but mainly because some of those parking them haven’t realised the difficulties that they are creating by not parking as thoughtfully as they could have done.

"It is the case that there have been occasions when access to some streets have been so restricted that it wasn’t possible for the refuse collection vehicle to get access to empty the bins.

"These bins are frequently reported as having been ‘missed’, but they weren’t missed, they simply couldn’t be accessed."

He concluded: “Given the volume of traffic on the roads and the larger sizes of vehicles, including refuse collection vehicles, the skills demanded of the drivers of large vehicles are ever increasing.

"On the basis of what I have seen, it is clear to me that the council’s refuse collection vehicles drivers are more than up to the challenge and have to be praised for their skill.”

Back in April, the team manager of waste operations, Sandy Anderson, said reckless motorists were putting bin workers in danger.

He said: “It’s a constant issue. I downloaded CCTV footage just recently which showed that a van mounted the curb to get past the lorry.

"Thankfully, the driver of the lorry tooted his horn to alert his colleague to get out of the way. The van just narrowly missed him.

“We serve every street in Fife and the chances are if you’re stuck behind a lorry, it’ll be out of your way in just a couple of minutes.

“But people decide to take stupid risks."

He said workers were also verbally abused and explained: “In trying to improve the quality of recycling, bins are tagged if they have wrong items in them, meaning they won’t be lifted.

“When people see that their bins aren’t going to be emptied, they can throw abuse at workers.

“One person ran after a colleague down the street shouting at him. Someone else got in a car and followed a lorry for a while.

“No-one should not want to go into their work worrying that they might be abused. No-one should have to face that in their work."