Porfolio Holder for Environment Councillor Mary Sartin said: The Council is very sorry for the difficulties which have arisen during the period 22 December 2009 through Christmas and the New Year period.
All services were seriously affected by the snow, which fell immediately before the Christmas break, and the very icy conditions which then followed. A number of areas within the district were impassable to the refuse freighters and crews due to the very dangerous condition of the roads and the pavements. These difficulties were made worse by access to all of the tipping sites (landfill and recycling) being restricted resulting in freighters not being able to discharge all their loads on the day of collection and then having to queue with those from other Local Authorities before they could start their rounds the following day.
The last few days` very cold conditions have also affected the electronics and hydraulics on the refuse freighters and where this has caused wheelie bin lifts to fail, collections have been further delayed.
These weather-related disruptions, combined with the normal Christmas collection arrangements have caused considerable confusion and difficulties for residents and in some instances long delays between collections. However, since the food and garden waste service is a weekly one, all collections have now been caught up.
The dry recycling and residual waste service suffered greater disruption because of their fortnightly nature and it is the case that some residents have not had a collection for approaching four weeks. However, given that food waste is collected on a weekly basis, the main difficulty for most residents will have been the amount of dry recycling and other waste which need to be stored ahead of the delayed collection date. Where we have been aware of some residents` special needs, individual collections have been made to assist those individuals / families. However, it is hoped that all these missed collections will also have been caught up by the end of this week.
The Council has suspended its normal rules on the putting out of side waste and will take away all waste put out for collection until the backlog has been cleared. Residents are reminded that dry recycling (including glass) can be put out in any container (except a black plastic sack) and the crews will collect it. Christmas trees will also be collected as part of the food and garden service, provided that they are not taller than, or have been cut down into pieces of, not more than four feet (1.2 metres). Residents are requested to continue to separate their recycling as this is particularly important at this time of year due to the volumes of glass, plastic and paper packaging in the waste stream.
Councillor Sartin concluded: The past few weeks have seen an unfortunate combination of snow, ice and the normal changes to collection frequencies over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. The Council`s Waste Officers and Sita`s collection crews have done their very best to maintain services under very difficult, and sometimes very dangerous, circumstances.”
As is normal following difficulties such as these, the Council and its contractors Sita, will review the circumstances and the actions taken, to determine whether anything else could have been done to minimise the disruption and what, if anything, needs to be put into place to deal with similar circumstances in the future.