MP weighs in on storm over waste collections

Uncollected bins in Faygate Road
Uncollected bins in Faygate Road

MP Norman Baker has trashed Wealden District Council over its ongoing ‘mishandling’ of the new recycling service across the region.

The council’s claim that it is now averaging a 95 per cent collection rate still leaves thousands of households with litter on their doorsteps, especially in rural areas such as Alfriston, said Mr Baker.

The Polegate MP has been in ongoing contact with senior staff at the council expressing his concerns and has formally written to Trevor Scott, Wealden’s director of environmental services. Assurances were given that the situation would be dealt with within six to eight weeks of the introduction of new recycling services. It is now coming up to that initial deadline yet problems remain widespread across the region.

Wealden is requesting that residents report where bin collections have been missed so that they can be logged and passed to their agents, Kier. It is recommended that this is done via email to avoid the lengthy delays currently being experienced with the over-the-phone service.

Mr Baker said, “It is simply unacceptable that weeks after problems were identified, local residents are still facing problems with their bin collection.

“It has been many weeks since the changeover and my constituents in Polegate and Alfriston have seen little improvement in their situation. Furthermore, the many complaints this issue is producing daily have now clogged up many of the means of contact with Wealden and this is leading to further problems as residents struggle to have other issues addressed.”

“This whole fiasco has gone on long enough, Wealden has made many promises but we now need to see real actions and solutions. I hope that ultimately, this new service does bring about a more efficient and greener refuse collection, but currently this seems a long way off with many hurdles to overcome before this vision is a reality.”

Residents in Hailsham have also complained about the rubbish piling up.

A Wealden District Council spokesperson said, “Changes to waste and recycling services are always challenging as crews familiarise themselves with new collection rounds and the locations of individual properties, particularly in rural areas. Residents are also getting used both to new collection days and a new collection system, which involves different materials in new bins.

“While the majority of residents received collections on the right day, Wealden District Council and Kier accept that too many residents have not received a collection when they were due. We would like to apologise to those who have been caused any inconvenience or distress by this and assure them that we are working hard to quickly remedy this situation. Kier has improved collection performance since the changes came in to effect.

“The changes to the collections service are necessary in order to bring about important long-term financial and service benefits to residents over the course of the 10-year contract. This includes underpinning £30m of cost savings for the councils in the East Sussex Partnership; improving recycling rates by increasing both the type and amount of material that can be collected; and optimising the use of staff and vehicle resources.”