email to and from Yate Town Council 20th May

This enquiry has been sent to:,

Dear Councillor Marshall,

I recently used the Yate Town Council website contact form to enquire about policy towards abandoned supermarket shopping trolleys in the town. In good time I was pleased to receive a response from Council administration assistant Sally Johnston who fielded the question your behalf.

What I might have hoped to have learned was that Yate Town Council has embraced the guidelines issued by Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs which facilitate creation of formalised policy by which local council authorities can deal with this issue. On the contrary, it has been made clear that the council operate an ad hoc arrangement of individual notification to the supermarkets; a policy that would be an entirely appropriate and proportionate response if the problem were both occasional and limited in extent. However, my experience combined with the anecdotal reports from friends and associates makes it clear that this approach falls short of adequately dealing with the problem. Similarly, the weight of economic incentive alone lacks the heft to encourage supermarkets to properly control their trolleys otherwise. The cost of a trolley is well known, but must be of such little concern to the supermarket when abandoned trolleys are reported directly to the supermarkets themselves they choose to take no action. What is more, this short coming may easily be misconstrued as timidity on the part of the council, but which nonetheless acts to compound the problem twofold. First the council have yet to make widely known to the townsfolk of Yate how these abandoned trolleys can be reported to the council, and second by not pressing the supermarkets to meet their responsibility for controlling and collecting these stray items of equipment.

In light of the above, current arrangements are clearly not fit for purpose. To correct this situation I would respectfully suggest that the council make representations and seek proposals from retailers concerned with a view to, 1, achieving measurable improvement in prevention of trolleys leaving and being abandoned away from the immediate vicinity of the their premises, and 2, more timely recovery when abandonment does occur. Subsequently, and only in the absence of acceptable progress being made in accordance with the above, Yate Town council might like to consider inviting tenders from commercial enterprises to provide a shopping trolley recovery and recovery admin service. This could be a self financing scheme funded by a bounty charged to respective supermarkets for each unit recovered and returned. The published guidelines mentioned in the second paragraph above make provision for this.

It is clear for all to see where responsibility rests in this matter. To achieve the desired outcome the first best chance is for political will of the council to meet with civic responsibility of retailers around the negotiating table. I look forward to receiving details of the undertakings promised by the retailers and agreed with the council. With both parties meeting their responsibilities the objective to rid our neighbourhoods of the blight of abandoned trolleys will be achieved.

Regards, David Evans.

Dear Mr Evans

Thank you very much for your email in response to my colleague, Sally Johnston’s reply.

We will present  your suggestion to the Council for comment and come back to you as soon as possible.

Kind regards

Julia Alden
Senior Admin Officer