Derry City Council has confirmed that it will not be able to empty bins at over 80 unadopted sites at housing estates in Derry & Strabane.
The shock revelation came after legal advice was taken over whether the insurance for refuse vehicles covered such areas.
Various councillors raised the matter at a special meeting of Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee on Wednesday at the Guildhall.
There is now a backlog of 83 development sites across Derry and Strabane which have yet to be adopted, it has been revealed, and many more which are pending.
The committee was addressed by Transport NI’s (formerly Roads Service) Network Planning Manager Darren Campbell and Senior Development Control Officer Lorraine McWilliams on Private Streets and the Unadopted Sites Backlog.
Mr Campbell told the committee that these properties affected included many constructed during the building boom and prior to the economic collapse.
Speaking during the meeting, Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly said the whole situation with housing seemed to be shambolic, and questioned whether these householders affected by unadopted estates would potentially get any rates relief.
A council officer responded that eligibility for rates relief was a matter for central government and not something the council could bring about.
DUP Councillor Maurice Devenney asked for an update on talks involving council officers and other bodies after it emerged last November that there might be an issue of legality if bin lorries were driven onto such estates.
The council’s Director of Environment & Regeneration Karen Phillips said that they have taken legal advice and been advised that when estates are unadopted they cannot bring their vehicles onto these sites.
A second senior Council officer said that the council was sympathetic to the plight of residents on these estates but added that health and safety was the paramount concern of the council.
He added that in some unadopted areas there had been collection points established to ensure bins are emptied.
A suggestion that the committee write to the Minister to raise concerns over the issues facing rate payers in such private estates was proposed by SDLP Councillor Gus Hastings.
Various councillors also expressed frustration in trying to contact officials over areas of concern in such estates.