WALKING the streets of Harrow, the leafy suburb of London, one is faced with tree-lined roads and a forest of wheelie bins.

At least the trees are planted in straight rows, following the kerb line,giving the scene grace and obscuring some of the not so pretty buildings, whereas the multicoloured bins are very prominently scattered across most people's small front gardens.

Thirty years ago every household used to have one small bin, which was enough capacity for all the rubbish. Obviously, that was not just before recycling, but also before everything one buys was packaged to the hilt. The clock can't be turned back, and we are stuck with our three bin system, but couldn't we look after them better? Most people are house-proud with their indoors, but what about our streets? The windows of our houses and our cars get a regular wash, why not the bins?

Some take great care by having theirs washed by a wheelie bin hygiene specialist, and so as not to confuse one's bin with the neighbour's smelly old thing, of course, the house number has to be stamped on the bin. And that is where the real nuisance shows. House numbers are neat, small tidy signs, whereas the graffiti vandal comes out in everyone when smearing the paint over the bin. And then there is the size of the numbers. It seems the bigger the better.

Even some labels which can be bought are about 10 times the size of a house number.Isn't that an insult to the dustmen. Their eyesight is quite good and they know which property to return the bin to.

I am wondering whether appealing to peoples' good nature has any effect, or whether this type of improvement should be dealt with by planning regulations. Signs in general are subject to planning in conservation areas.


BI Design Harrow