Government wants household bins 'out of sight'

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Media captionCommunities Secretary Eric Pickles says the government is taking steps to tackle "bin blight"

New housing developments in England should include sufficient space to store household bins out of view of the street, the government has said.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the proliferation of wheelie bins had created a "blot on the landscape".

New planning guidance about bin storage is being published next week.

But the Local Government Association, which represents town halls, said council planners already ensured there was adequate space for bin storage.

And shadow communities secretary Hilary Benn criticised Mr Pickles for giving "obvious advice" to developers.

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Media captionShadow communities secretary Hilary Benn says Eric Pickles should focus on "his big responsibly, which is that we build more houses"

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the move would "help avoid bins dominating residential streets" on new developments.

'Mountain of waste'

But there are no plans to tackle what critics call "bin blight" on existing residential streets, a spokeswoman added.

Mr Pickles criticised bin policies under the last government, saying they had "made families' lives hell".

"In streets up and down the country, ugly bin clutter has ruined the street scene and the look of people's homes and gardens," he said.

"By ensuring that developers create appropriate waste storage areas when designing new homes, we can tackle the ghastly gauntlet of bin-blighted streets and driveways."

Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Living Streets, a charity which campaigns on behalf of pedestrians, described the move as "a positive".

"Street obstacles and street clutter are a real issue for those with mobility problems, people who are blind and have visual impairments and people pushing a buggy," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"It's good to see ministers taking the street conditions seriously."

But councillor Mike Jones, chairman of the LGA's environment and housing board, said local councils already worked with developers to ensure planning applications for new housing included storage space for bins.

"Nine out 10 people say they are happy with the job their council does to keep their streets clean and tidy and we are constantly looking for ways to improve how we deal with the mountain of waste this country creates every year," he added.

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