Recycling latest at Full Council

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Improvements to the waste and recycling service were reported to Full Council on 23 June 2015 by Epping Forest District Council’s Environment Portfolio Holder, Will Breare-Hall.

New dustcart

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Councillor Breare-Hall gave an update on progress following a high-level meeting with Biffa’s managing director, Roger Edwards. He also outlined £13,000 of additional costs picked up by the council as it took action to tackle some of the worst problems over the past few weeks. Councillors heard that the total cost could ultimately rise to £30,000.

Councillor Breare-Hall reported on the first week of the action plan prepared by Biffa. He said there were encouraging signs it was having the desired effect.

Key actions taken by Biffa

  • Workloads of 5 black-bin crews and 5 recycling crews reduced
  • 2 additional crews created for each of those collections
  • Some workload removed for 7 food and garden crews and 3 additional crews created
  • Additional crews to have at least 1 permanent member of staff with them to provide local knowledge
  • Increased service efficiency through adjustments to the existing routes, together with the temporary creation of new routes
  • New missed collection reports issued back to the crew that missed them, helping to ensure crews learn their new routes effectively
  • 8 additional vehicles brought in – 2 more than is required – to accommodate any unforeseen problems

Keep residents informed

Councillor Breare-Hall said that the service was moving toward a position where the right resources were in the right place at the right time. This meant Biffa now had the ability to implement a coherent strategic approach to the efficient and effective delivery of the service.

The number of missed collections reported to the council had fallen significantly, and stood at 75 on the day of the report. The improvement was born out by fewer phone calls to the Customer Contact Centre at around 260 a day, down from a peak of over 550. Councillor Breare-Hall took the opportunity to highlight and praise the dedication and commitment of the council’s staff. He said they had worked incredibly hard over the last 7 weeks on behalf of residents, adding “I’d like to publicly thank them for everything they have done, and endured. I’m personally extremely grateful to them.”

Welcoming the improvements, Councillor Breare-Hall counselled against complacency. He said it was too early to say all the problems are behind us. It would take some weeks to be confident the service has fully stabilised and is operating at a level councillors and residents are happy with. He promised to continue meeting with Biffa’s senior management and to keep residents informed.