'Not fair' refuse lorries put at risk from badly maintained private road

Potholes at Upherds Lane in Ely

Upherds Lane, in Ely, has extensive and deep potholes which are located across the road. Although the road is wide, the council says waste trucks are unable to navigate the potholes. - Credit: Harry Rutter / Archant

Residents living along an unadopted road in Ely may have to face the issue of refuse collections being back on the agenda after a review was paused because of lockdown.  

It could mean refuse lorries being withdrawn and residents being obliged to take their wheeled bins and black bin bags to their nearest public highway. 

East Cambridgeshire District Council is likely to revisit its review of refuse collections along Upherds Lane. 

Towards the end of 2019, the council announced it was considering changes to the collections because of the state of the road.  

Anna Bailey, leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “The situation will have to be reviewed at some point.  


Extensive and deep pot holes at Upherds Lane, Ely

East Cambridgeshire District Council was holding a review of refuse collections in Upherds Lane, Ely before the coronavirus pandemic hit. - Credit: Harry Rutter / Archant


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“We can’t keep hammering our fleet down that road in its current condition. 

“I understand it would be a problem, especially for the elderly and frail, if there were new arrangements.  

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“But it’s not fair on the tax paying public and the fleet accessing this private road.” . 

Upherds Lane, in Ely

Upherds Lane had been given a red rating in a council survey, meaning its condition was a major risk to refuse vehicles and employees. - Credit: Harry Rutter / Archant


The road had been given a red rating in a council survey, meaning its condition was a major risk to refuse vehicles and employees – and substantial remedial work was required. 

Although the road is wide, it has extensive and deep pot holes which the council says waste trucks have difficulties navigating. 

Upherds Lane in Ely

The council’s trading arm East Cambs Street Scene has been collecting refuse as normal for Upherds Lane residents throughout the pandemic. - Credit: Harry Rutter / Archant

As Upherds Lane is a private road, there were also risks that the council could be exposed to possible insurance claims as a result of accessing poorly maintained private and unadopted roads. 

Initial discussions with residents were put on hold when pandemic hit. 

The council’s trading arm East Cambs Street Scene has been collecting refuse as normal for Upherds Lane. 

Bins are left outside their homes and waste lorries travel down the road to collect them. 

Upherds Lane street sign

Upherds Lane in Ely - Credit: Harry Rutter / Archant

But a letter sent to residents last year outlined new arrangements and invited them to come up with an agreed solution. 

Options previously considered by the council include asking homeowners to ensure private or unadopted roads meet minimum standards for refuse lorries. 

An alternative would be for residents to take their wheeled bins and black bin bags to their nearest public highway. 

Extensive potholes in Upherds Lane, Ely

Extensive potholes in Upherds Lane, Ely - Credit: Harry Rutter / Archant

While it's a complicated and long process, the county council can consider adopting new roads for maintenance at the public’s expense when they serve six or more homes. 



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