A HEALTH and safety move which could mean bin men being told to stop moving wheelie bins has been branded as "ridiculous" by a Craven councillor.

Currently about 20 per cent of Craven residents who live in inaccessible places have their bins taken to a waste lorry by council workmen.

But following a recent inspection by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Craven District Council has been told the practice must stop and collections must be kerbside only.

Cllr Carl Lis, lead member for waste management, told fellow councillors they had no option but to act.

He said the issue was council staff moving bins over long distances, but arrangements would have to be made for vulnerable residents.

"There will be people who are old and infirm and we have a duty to collect their bins. I don't know what we will do at the moment, but officers are working on it," he said.

But Cllr Paul English said there would be people in every ward who would find it difficult to move their own bins.

"It seems strange that we are being told that there is too much risk for trained professionals to move wheelie bins, but little old ladies can.

"Sometimes, I just shake my head. Refuse collectors are refuse collectors, that is what they are employed to do. It seems more than more we can't let them do the job they are employed to do, it is ridiculous."

A spokesman for the HSE said the council's waste collection service had been inspected as part of a rolling programme of similar inspections of authorities across the country.

"HSE recommended that Craven District Council moved to kerbside collections to reduce the risk to employees of sustaining injuries from manual handling.

"HSE also made further recommendations regarding reversing of collection trucks so staff are better protected from moving vehicles; assessing risks of the bin rounds being undertaken, and ensuring the authority has a source of competent health and safety advice."

The spokesman added: "The council is making progress adopting the recommendations to bring them into line with current best practice."

Paul Florentine, Craven's waste and recycling manager, said the council had been working with the HSE to make sure the processes it adopted provided the best service to its customers while at the same time complying with its legal obligations.

He added the service was now under review and no changes had been brought in so far.

"If these changes are adopted, they would be ratified through the council's policy committee and each affected household would be individually notified."

He added: "It's worth noting that the council offers an assisted collection service if a householder is unable to present their bins to the kerbside."