Councillor says FCC Environment should "step aside" from waste contract

SA Updated
SHDC has moved to separate two reasons for recycling issues currently plaguing the council

South Hams District Councillor John Birch released a statement that said that FCC Environment "still fails to fulfil its contractual obligations" and it was time for the contractor to "step aside".

Cllr Birch's comments came after the council's recycling and waste contractor, FCC Environment, has asked South Hams District Council to suspend all garden waste collections in order to concentrate on other waste collections. They have said this is due to the national shortage of HGV drivers. 

Cllr Birch said: "The waste collection service throughout South Hams shows no signs of improvement The number of missed collections throughout the district is still at an unacceptable level.

"FCC, the council’s waste collection contractor, still fails to fulfil its contractual obligations in providing a service that the residents of South Hams deserve and expect.

"We have reached the stage where the administration at SHDC should tell FCC that it is time for it to step aside and make way for others who can deliver. Enough is enough.

"In recognising a changeover is not going to be a straightforward process I propose that initially SHDC reduces FCC’s area of responsibility and introduce a more efficient organisation to take over the remaining area.

"One option is to approach Teignbridge District Council with a view to exploring a partnership with its in-house waste collection department. To start off with that partnership could take over responsibility for the waste collection in the eastern area of South Hams including Totnes and Ivybridge.

"Once the new organisation is up and running steps can then be taken to replace FCC in the western area of South Hams.

"It is now time for the administration at SHDC to bring about a much needed improvement in the waste collection service. I will be seeking the support of other SHDC councillors to bring about this improvement with the proposal I set out above."

Leader of South Hams District Council Cllr Judy Pearce responded, saying: “It is crucial that we separate the issues that FCC Environment had with the roll out of the new services, from the national shortage of LGV and HGV drivers.

"We know that there have been issues with the new service, but the reason for suspending garden waste has nothing to do with the roll out of the new service. The Road Hauliers Association estimates that there is a national shortfall of approx 100,000 drivers. Therefore, like many of our neighbouring authorities, FCC Environment are putting the statutory services, waste and recycling first, and suggesting we suspend garden waste for the time being.

"As there is a national shortage of drivers, we cannot ask neighbouring authorities for help as they too are having to suspend or reduce waste collection services. West Devon, East Devon, North Devon, Teignbridge, Torbay, Plymouth, Somerset and Bristol are all experiencing disruption to their services because of this issue.

"So I would implore fellow councillors to keep to the facts and not confuse the two issues. As we have explained to the public, we are working with FCC Environment through their contract to manage the ongoing service issues that the public are experiencing. We will continue to watch the issues being caused by the driver shortage and respond as quickly as we can.”

If you need to report a missed collection, visit the SHDC website: www.southhams.gov.uk//Missed-Bin-or-Recycling

 

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