We are apologising to residents for the ongoing issues with domestic waste and recycling collections.
Poor performance by waste and recycling contractor Biffa over Christmas and the New Year has compounded problems due to the severe weather earlier in December. While the pre-Christmas cold snap exacerbated the current difficulties, the recent problems are part of a longer term trend.
Our residents deserve better
Councillor Nigel Avey, Cabinet Contracts Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council said:
Individually, our refuse crews work incredibly hard. It’s a very tough job which few people choose to do, and it’s important to separate the good work of individual people from the underlying problems with the contract.
While bad weather and Christmas makes waste and recycling collections difficult, they are not an excuse for the underlying problems with Biffa. There are many reasons why Biffa has struggled to improve performance, including staff shortages and an unreliable fleet of vehicles, but our residents deserve better.
Taking appropriate action
Councillor Avey continued:
Council staff are working night and day to try to improve Biffa’s performance. Among the issues over Christmas were vehicles reaching capacity before the end of rounds, with no time to collect the remaining properties after unscheduled tipping. Punctures and breakdowns caused further delays, alongside high levels of staff and agency staff absence. All these issues have been taken up with Biffa.
We continue to apply pressure and enforce the contract where possible to try to improve service. Unfortunately, even with extra crews now being deployed, not all the missed collections will be caught up this week.
The council is taking appropriate action. The current contract with Biffa will not automatically be renewed. We have started work towards a new contract.
That is a year or two down the line. For now, we will continue to do everything in our power to improve Biffa’s performance. That includes help where we can and sanctions where necessary.
The current poor level of service is unacceptable and we will not rest until the situation has improved.
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