Council struggling with large backlog of green waste
6:00pm Wednesday 5th September 2012 in By David Wiles
THOUSANDS of green waste bags have been left piled up on streets as Swindon Council struggles to clear a week-long backlog.
The council said there had been a massive increase in the volume of garden waste to be collected this summer, due to ideal growing conditions and a tendency for householders to utilise the kerbside service, rather than take sacks themselves to the household recycling centre at Waterside Park.
The Labour group plans to table a motion to this month’s full council asking cabinet to draw up an action plan to improve the service, but the Conservative administration says that it is already doing so.
Contractor Swindon Commer-cial Services had all available vehicles working over the weekend and continues to double-shift the rounds. However the large volumes mean it has exceeded the storage capacity at Waterside Park and maximised the off-site storage at a composting facility as well.
In Eastcott, sacks scheduled to be collected on August 27 were not taken until Monday, while green waste in Liden due to be picked up on August 31, was still by the kerb yesterday.
Coun Jim Grant, Labour group leader, said some ward councillors were getting two to three complaints about the delays from residents per week. He said: “There has been widespread resident dissatisfaction with the council’s garden waste collection service this summer, with the council again falling behind with its garden waste collection. “This is hugely frustrating for residents who are being told to leave their garden waste ready for collection.
“It appears that the reason for the delays is that the administration has wildly underestimated how much garden waste the council will need to collect this summer.
“That is why we are calling for an action plan to be produced by the lead member outlining what will be done to stop delays in collection in the future.”
Coun Dave Wood (Lib Dem, Eastcott) said: “What I would like to do is make sure the council looks at the issues, establishes why there were problems, and takes action before next year – otherwise, we will have the same problems each summer.”
Coun Fionuala Foley , cabinet member for Streetsmart and corporate services, said: “The volumes are massively up on last year. But what’s going to the depot in people’s cars is definitely down. It’s a huge difference. People are just putting it outside.”
Responding to the call for an action plan, she added: “I’m looking at it already. I had an away day on Friday with Streetsmart and we’re looking at green waste closely, so later in the year we will be coming up with an action plan.”