A COUNCIL has been criticised after using plastic hedging to spruce up the view around unsightly bins near a school.

Green artificial hedging has been installed by Denbighshire County Council (DCC) outside Ruthin Leisure Centre, which neighbours secondary school Ysgol Brynhyfryd and bus stops used by pupils. The council said the ‘faux’ hedging is being used to hide the large wheelie bins, situated at the junction exit of the leisure centre car park, to “dress it with greenery as it was an eyesore”.

Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Ruthin county councillor, said that the hedging is a better view than the bins and “ensures that children are protected from diseases caused by waste”.

Huw Williams, Llanbedr DC county councillor, approved of the artificial decoration, adding: “The community council like the hedging so much that they are considering using it outside Llanbedr Village Hall.”

But it has been criticised by residents who feel natural hedging would have been more environmentally friendly. Ruthin county councillor Emrys Wynne, who chairs DCC's single-use plastic scrutiny committee, said he is “totally sympathetic” to the concerns.

“The artificial hedging is typical of a short-term solution which could have been done better,” he said. “The concerns raised by residents are quite valid. Wooden fencing would have been more appropriate.”

Residents took to Facebook to voice their worries.

Kathy Barham commented: “You could use willow to surround them and that would look nicer. Why use plastic when we’re trying to reduce our plastic use?”

Luke Packer said: “Plastic-free Denbighshire, wasting money on plastic, to cover up plastic bins.”

Ben Marfitt added: “This shows a complete lack of thought for our environment. It delivers a message to schoolchildren that it is OK to choose plastic over more sustainable options. I hope this decision will not be replicated.”

A DCC spokesperson said: “This section of land has always been used as a bin store. All the council has done is dress it with greenery as it was an eyesore.

“The fencing and greenery has been there for quite some time and no concerns or complaints have come in.”

The spokesperson added that the council has no plans to use the artificial hedging elsewhere.