Apologies after waste problems go into 12th week

A resident has branded missed rubbish and recycling collections in Wealden as ‘unacceptable’ after problems with some collections ran into a 12th week.

Wealden District Council launched a new joint waste scheme with Eastbourne, Hastings and Rother under contractor Kier over the summer.

The scheme ran into trouble with some rubbish and recycling not being collected on time.

Wealden said the problems stemmed from binmen trying to familarise themselves with new routes.

The council said contractor Kier is now meeting most collections, but there are a small number of residents still experiencing issues.

Some residents say although collections are being made, they are not regular, with some people waiting a month at a time.

Guy Baigent, from Wilmington, said his rubbish was finally collected at the end of September after five weeks of waiting, but his recycling is still piling up.

He said it was unacceptable his waste was still being missed, 12 weeks after the scheme was launched.

He said: “Our recyclable refuse has not been collected for almost a month.

“This is totally unacceptable and with the bin being full I am having to store it in an already packed garage.

“On reading the report put forward by the Proper Officer at the last Wealden Cabinet meeting and the one for the cabinet meeting being held on October 16 there is plenty of criticism of Kier but none relating to Wealden.

“I find this outrageous. Whilst Kier have been contracted to perform the task I fail to understand why Wealden officers were not on top of the situation to avert a failure in delivery that is now 12 weeks old.

“I can understand some problems at the beginning of a changeover such as this but for issues still to be occurring almost 12 weeks after it started is unacceptable.”

Kier and the council said they apologised for the inconvenience residents may have suffered because of missed waste collections.

A spokesman for Wealden District Council said it was sorry to hear Mr Baigent’s collection had been missed for another week and it had notified Kier.

He said: “We are aware that a collection was missed at the premises a month ago and an extra collection was made.

“We are sorry to learn that this has occurred again, and have notified Kier to make sure a collection is made.

“Service levels have improved since Kier introduced its new rounds structure on July 22, but a small number of residents are still experiencing problems.

“Kier has been working hard to address the shortcoming of the collection service.

“Wealden staff are doing their upmost to help residents and keep Kier informed of missed collections.

“At management level we continue to hold weekly meetings with Kier to offer support and share ideas to build on the improvements so far achieved.

“The majority of residents are now receiving an improved recycling service which will bring significant financial and environmental benefits for everyone.”

Mr Baigent’s recycling has since been collected. See Friday’s letters pages (October 25 issue).