R4U at UDC puts in place immediate and mid-term actions to improve ‘rubbish’ kerbside collections

The R4U administration at Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has acknowledged that kerbside bin collection in Uttlesford is currently unacceptable and in response has put in place immediate and mid-term actions at the Council to improve it.

Neil Reeve (R4U) Neil Reeve (R4U)

Cllr Neil Reeve (R4U), Portfolio Holder for the Environment and Climate Change at UDC said “The whole situation is literally rubbish and not good enough. In recent years the UDC kerbside waste collection services worked like clockwork and so went unnoticed. But during the last nine months, some deliveries have been missed and residents have been rightly unhappy. So am I; and so is UDC. The primary reasons for unfinished rounds are stretched crews due to an increased volume of kerbside pick-up. Without doubt, a growing Uttlesford population, a more remote location where ECC now requires bin lorries to be emptied, and ECC reducing residents’ access to their recycling centres are all factors in more waste being left at the kerb for UDC. In response, during the last 6 months, at UDC we’ve been working on improvements. These include obtaining extra vehicles and hiring crews, staffing changes, and reviewing routes and rounds. These improvements have been taking longer than we’d all like, but are well underway.”

Cllr Reeve continued “The current temporary halting of kerbside pickup last week was caused by a totally separate administrative issue. To operate bin lorries, a council requires a designated Transport Manager and a Vehicle Operator Licence. UDC’s Transport Manager left the council and unfortunately the licence renewal date fell into the gap just before the new Transport Manager was fully up and running. The date should have been spotted and an interim licence extension obtained. It wasn’t and this avoidable error is totally unacceptable. UDC dropped the ball, so I apologise to residents and local businesses, as has the Chief Executive.”

Cllr Neil Reeve added “However the new Transport Manager is now in place and the required paperwork has been submitted to the Traffic Commissioner. The new licence grant should be quick. But if it takes longer than it should, in parallel to get kerbside collections back as quickly as we can, UDC is seeking to temporarily contract vehicles from neighbouring local authorities. We will fix it; and expect to have the bin lorries back on the streets next week. Please visit the UDC website to get the latest information. We’d also like to make it clear that none of this has anything to do with UDC’s hardworking crews, who provide solid services for Uttlesford residents rain or shine – and will continue to do so, especially with extra vehicles and team members.”

Cllr Reeve concluded “Finally, regarding waste in general, one of the root causes of recent New Year collection problems was the massive and unexpected increase in kerbside pick-up. More full lorries required extra journeys. Wherever possible, please try to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Even though the ECC recycling centres are frustratingly harder to access than they were, they have plenty of slots and it only takes a few minutes to book one. It’s important that we all work together to get to zero waste by 2050.”

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