BINMEN have to do a U-turn in the middle of a Hyndburn street because their new wagons won't fit under a railway bridge.

The situation was revealed at a meeting of the full council, but officials say they knew about it and couldn't get vehicles small enough to solve the long-standing problem..

Coun Tony Dobson said he saw one of the council's three new vehicles, which cost £110,000 each, turn around when it approached the 3.42metre-high bridge in Lonsdale Street, Accrington.

"It appears the wagons they have bought don't go under the bridge," said Coun Dobson.

"I saw it with my own eyes and I had a word with the drivers.

"I didn't know what they were doing. They went down Lonsdale Street and then turned round. I thought it was strange and wondered why they were not doing the whole street."

Coun Dobson also said the vehicles can't fit down the borough's many back alleys because the side-loading mechanism makes them too wide.

They were bought as part of Hyndburn's new recycling scheme, which introduced wheely bins to the borough.

Steve Todd, head of environmental health, said: "None of our refuse wagons go under it and haven't done for many many years. All the rounds are designed accordingly.

"The wagons are a standard size and height, designed for everywhere. We would have to have a much smaller vehicle to get under it and instead of three we would probably need five. It would be uneconomic, we would need more rounds and have to visit the tip more regularly. We have gone for the most economic option and it's not an issue.

"The new vehicles are slightly different because they are side-loading so they are too wide to go down back alleys, so we have to do collections at the front instead."

Coun Tim O'Kane, portfolio holder for environmental health, said: "The Tories are talking rubbish. They are desperate to attack the recycling scheme so they are coming out with tripe like that."