‘More drastic measures’ could be considered in response to the poor performance of Kier’s waste collection service by Wealden District Council.
At a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Tuesday (September 5), council leaders heard how further action had been taken in response to issues with the waste collection service provided by the Kier Group.
During the meeting, the council’s portfolio holder for economic development and waste management Roy Galley spoke about the company’s recent performance and what steps had been taken to improve the service.
Cllr Galley said: “Since the last cabinet meeting I have had two conversations – one face-to-face, one on the phone – with the managing director of Kier and his contract director, who is the more influential character in lots of ways in terms of our day-to-day management.
“On both occasions we have devised and updated an action plan which has been pretty well completely implemented and a series of small measures which have helped them.
“Nevertheless it has been a bumpy ride. Things got particularly bad in July and after getting a little bit better they are deteriorating again. This is a situation that we really cannot accept.
“We are now looking at more drastic measures that we may wish to take. I don’t really want today to go into too much detail but there are options for us and the time has passed for us to be saying ‘well Kier will sort it out next week.’
“They clearly are not capable of doing so and the service they are providing is unacceptable and we need to take some stronger measures.”
Kier was taken on to run the service through an agreement by the East Sussex Waste Partnership in 2012. It was originally contracted to run the service for ten years, but agreed an early exit from the contract last year.
The East Sussex Waste Partnership is currently in the process agreeing a new contractor, which is expected to take over the service when Kier’s contract ends in June next year.
After the meeting, Wealden District Council confirmed it had taken on outside contractors to help relieve pressure on the waste service.
A council spokesman said: “Wealden is taking action to help resolve the current disruptions to waste collections.
“We are bringing in a third party to help recover missed bins still outstanding from one of the rounds which did not operate last week.
“We hope this will assist Kier in deploying their available resources to best effect. At the moment this is a one-off intervention but we will keep the position under review.”
During the same meeting Ann Newton, cabinet member for planning and development, asked Cllr Galley to clarify what happened to waste collected in the district.
Cllr Newton said: “I wondered if for those watching if you might be able to briefly explain where our recycling goes and our rubbish goes. If it is not recycling it tends to got to the incinerator but a lot of people have concerns that it is actually going to landfill.
“I wondered if you could elaborate on that?”
Cllr Galley confirmed that only ‘one or two per cent’ of waste collected in Wealden was going to landfill for disposal.
He said: “Last year we recycled 52 per cent, of the rest the majority went to the incinerator. That not only gets rid of the rubbish effectively but generates heat for, I think, 25,000 homes in the area and puts energy back into the grid.
“The incinerator is a win-win.”
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