SHDC demands waste contractor rectify the current situation

SA Updated
SHDC demands waste contractor rectify the current situation

South Hams District Council has written to FCC Environment "demanding that they rectify the situation as a matter of priority".

FCC Environment are contracted by South Hams District Council to provide waste collection to South Hams residents but they have been plagued with issues since they introduced a new waste and recycling service in 2021. 

Since then, there have been trucks too big for the lanes they need to access, drivers not knowing the routes, missed bin collections, a susoended brown bin service, and lately a reintrioduced brown bin service that has still missed tens of thousands of households. 

A spokesperson for South Hams District Council, said: “The council has taken legal advice and has written to FCC demanding that they rectify the situation as a matter of priority. The situation has gone on far too long and it urgently requires a resolution for residents.

"Unfortunately, the Council is unable to provide further details at this stage, but they will provide an update as soon as they are able to.

"At all stages, the Council has sought to work with the contractor to improve and resolve the situation."

Cllr John Birch, district councillor for Totnes, said last week: "Since Easter SHDC has recorded over 60,000 missed brown bin collections by FCC, the council's waste collection contractor.

"Last week I submitted a request that the Leader of the Council provide a statement to the Full Council at its recent meeting as to what action was being taken by the administration to address the waste collection problem. This request was turned down.

"I, along with other Liberal Democrat councillors, have called for FCC to appear before the council and provide a report on its performance (or lack of it) and then face questions. This meeting has been set for 8 June 2022 at 4pm."

A spokesperson for FCC Environment said: "FCC Environment understands South Hams residents’ frustration and annoyance with the continued disruption to the waste and recycling services. We would like to sincerely apologise for the failure to deliver the service you expect and deserve.

"In particular we would like to say sorry for the difficulties experienced with the reintroduction of the garden waste collection service. There are reasons for this but we want to clarify that when the service was rolled out we had recruited sufficient staff required under the contract to deliver the service but since then staff have left the contract and we have been unable to replace them. We are operating an average absence level of 14% and, along with other issues which have made ongoing recruitment challenging, this has made delivering the service problematic. Notwithstanding these issues, the residents have a right to expect a good and reliable service.

"At all stages, FCC has sought to work with the council to improve and resolve the situation and this remains the case.

"We are fully committed to ensuring that everybody has a garden waste collection service on a reasonably regular basis whilst the ongoing issues are resolved. In addition, we are looking at how we can adjust our collection rounds to ensure that the same households are not missed each time."

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