Bucks Council apologises for missed bin collections after irate residents complain

Buckinghamshire council has apologised for missed bins across the county that it confessed caused “a lot of distress” – and for keeping residents who tried to complain on the phone for too long.

By Rory Butler
Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 5:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 6:00 pm

Cabinet member for climate change and environment, Cllr Gareth Williams, said Bucks Council is sorry for recent missed bin collections, particularly in the south of the county.

He said “intelligence” was not passed from old crews to new after Veolia took up the contract a year and a half ago.

Cllr Williams said retirement homes, schools, and collections “behind homes” had been “particular” problem areas, and that people had become “irate”.

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He also said his bank holiday was “utterly ruined” by the “sheer volume of complaints”, adding more drivers and loaders had been brought in with supervisors from Veolia and managers from the council.

Cllr Williams said Bucks Council is also looking at ways to make it “easier to report bins online”.

He said the failure is “really unacceptable”.

Cabinet member for accessible housing and resources, Cllr John Chilver, added he is aware of longer-than-usual call waiting times when contacting the council.

He said the authority received more than 3,000 calls before 3pm on June 6, when normally it gets about 1,500.

Councillor Williams said: “I want to apologise to everyone who has had missed bins, which particularly affected those in the south of the county.

“Those who have tried to report it online and struggled, those who have had unacceptably long call centre waits, and for members and councillors who have had to endure a much higher than is acceptable number of, often irate, correspondence.

"Bank holidays, like mine, utterly ruined by the sheer volume of complaints that we have received.”

Cllr Williams said the problem was due to a reorganisation in the south of the county, where the contractor Veolia has had the contract for about 18 months.

"We’ve had to have very regular contact with the contractor,” he said. “They’ve got 30 per cent more drivers and loaders on to try and deal with this issue.

“We’ve had a surge in contact to the contact centre, and complaints. It is really unacceptable. It has caused a lot of distress. It is something we are doing a root and branch assessment of and I’m overseeing that as well.”