CANALSIDE bins could be removed to save money.

Litter bins are a familiar sight along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal towpath through the Keighley district and South Craven.

But the Canal & River Trust has written to local authorities across the region warning many could be removed, and the money saved used instead for maintaining the popular waterway's infrastructure.

The trust hopes that councils or other organisations may take on responsibility for the bins.

However, Bradford Council – whose waste budget is already overstretched – has cast doubt on the suggestion.

The Canal & River Trust says it needs to prioritise maintaining the hundreds of miles of waterway it's responsible for.

A spokesperson said: "We have written to local authorities advising them of our intention.

"As a charity, we are faced with the soaring cost of looking after the region’s ageing canals at a time when available funding is stretched.

"We need to prioritise maintaining the core fabric of the waterways, including the thousands of locks, bridges, aqueducts and other historic structures that make up the network, so that we can continue to provide free access to our towpaths for millions of people and maintain the integrity of the infrastructure to keep communities safe.

"The decision to remove our bins will save money that will help pay for a long list of vital repairs.

"The trust has many miles of canal where we don’t provide litter bins, including stretches that have achieved Green Flag Award status.

"Along these canals today, and in future where bins have to be removed, we're asking people who come to enjoy our free-to-visit waterways to follow the Countryside Code and take their litter back with them to be recycled where possible or disposed of responsibly.

"In doing so, they will be helping to protect the environment and supporting our charity to save vital money.

"Where there are proposals to remove bins, we are first seeking local funding options to adequately service the bins and hope that local partners will step up to help."

The trust says that last year, it spent £1.4 million nationally on emptying bins and clearing fly-tipping from the canals.

Bradford Council confirms that it has been contacted by the Canal & River Trust about the proposal.

A spokesperson said: "This is obviously of concern to us, as it will be to residents, so we are seeking urgent discussions with the trust."