Back on track with green waste backlog
SWINDON Council’s leadership has apologised for the delays in collecting green waste bags this summer, and says it has now solved the problem.
Earlier this month, the Adver reported that thousands of bags had been left piled up on streets as Swindon Commercial Services Ltd struggled to clear a week-long backlog, which filled up its storage capacity at Waterside Park and an off-site storage facility as well.
The council said there had been a massive increase in the volume of garden waste needing collecting 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.
The Conservative administration said during a full council meeting on Thursday that extra workmen and vehicles had been brought in last week and collections should be on time again. The council also commissioned an action plan to ensure the problem does not happen again.
Coun Fionuala Foley , cabinet member for Streetsmart and corporate services, said: “I will admit my service area has disappointed residents this year.
“I have apologised in a number of emails to residents and councillor colleagues. I assure you, we don’t set out to do a bad job.”
The discussion on the motion turned into a two-sided political debate, with the Conservatives accusing Labour of blaming SCS staff for the backlog, and Labour accusing the Conservatives of blaming the public for recycling and using the kerbside service. Both sides refuted the claims.
Coun Peter Heaton-Jones (Con, St Andrews) said official figures showed that SCS collected 5,961 tonnes of green waste in 2011/12, against a best estimate of 8,250 tonnes by the end of 2012/13.
He said that for about the last three years, 40 per cent of green waste had been taken by residents themselves to the Household Recycling Centre at Waterside, but that has fallen to 25 per cent this year.
Coun Heaton-Jones stressed the need to deal with the challenge, adding: “The increasing amount of sacks residents are putting out for collection has put a huge increase on demand.”
Coun Jim Grant, Labour group leader, said: “This situation has been going on all summer. It started in May. Clearly you haven’t planned for the consequences because it’s been continuing all summer and no amount of hard work by SCS is going to alter the backlog, because you haven’t planned to put the resources in.”