Residents who have waited weeks for their rubbish to be collected have been given a public apology by the company which took over the contract last month.
Kier Environmental managing director Nicola Peake admitted that the company’s performance in Wealden had not lived up to the company’s values and said that ‘further improvement is still required’.
And she added that the apology extended to residents in Eastbourne who had been affected by the changes – such as the residents of Bradford Street who didn’t have their bins collected for a month, leading to infestations of maggots and putrid smells.
She said, “At Kier, we pride ourselves on being a customer-focused organisation, which puts the needs of our local authority partners and their communities at the heart of those services we provide. We apologise that, since the introduction of new waste and recycling collection methodologies on 22 July, the level of service received by a number of households in Wealden has not lived up to these values.
“ The primary reason for this is our collection teams familiarising themselves with new vehicles and new collection rounds. While improvements have been made since these changes, we accept that considerable further improvement is still required. Where appropriate, we have and will continue to increase front-line resource, in terms of staff and vehicles to improve the service. We have also increased the number of back office staff, who are working to support the stabilisation process, and have increased supervisory and management levels. This additional resource has not, and will not be, at the expense of Wealden District Council or its residents. The changes that came into effect are part of a wider range of improvements being undertaken by Kier and the East Sussex Joint Waste Partnership.
“In addition to Wealden, the partnership incorporates the local authorities of Eastbourne, Hastings, Rother and East Sussex County Council. These changes will deliver significant and lasting service, environmental and financial benefits, such as enabling residents to recycle more rubbish and saving the Wealden tax payer an estimated £7.5m over the life of the contract.
“ We would like to thank the residents of Wealden for their patience and the enthusiasm they have shown for the newly introduced services. We wish to assure all Wealden residents that we will continue to work tirelessly to provide every household with the level of service they rightly expect.”
She added, “In Eastbourne, our daily collection rate has remained above 99 per cent since the changes to the collections service were implemented and any missed collections are usually rectified quickly.
“However, we are aware that some Eastbourne residents have experienced issues and our apology extends to those residents affected.”