Bin bags finally collected

PILES of rotting rubbish were finally being cleared from the streets of a north Essex town yesterday after a barrage of complaints about a new recycling scheme.

PILES of rotting rubbish were finally being cleared from the streets of a north Essex town yesterday after a barrage of complaints about a new recycling scheme.

Officials at Colchester Borough Council last night insisted the new system of collecting refuse would be a success in the long run – but conceded there had been “teething problems”.

Bags of waste had built up around Colchester over the last two weeks following the collection changes, angering residents and businesses.

The changes require people to place recyclable waste in different coloured sacks outside their homes on alternating weeks – but the council had been inundated by calls from residents claiming they knew nothing about it. Rubbish then built up, sparking complaints.

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Head of the borough council's Street Services, John Simpson, who had pledged to clear the problems by Wednesday morning, said last night most of the bags had now been picked up.

“There have been some hotspots which we weren't aware of and as soon as these have been reported we have taken action.

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“If people are putting out the wrong recyclables, however, we will not pick them up. Leaflets have now been produced for crews to deliver to households which are putting out the wrong items on the wrong week to make them aware of this and help the service run smoothly,” he said.

The new refuse trucks were designed to improve the recycling in the town and were introduced by Terry Sutton, the borough's cabinet member for street scene and licensing.

He said yesterday: “Things are getting much, much better. The problems were very regrettable, but they have been teething ones.

“The staff have made serious suggestions about how we can improve the service and I have been out on a round with the lads – I don't want them having to do something I could not do myself and I think it is a better service.”

However, there was still uncollected rubbish reported yesterday from the centre of town out to Wivenhoe. And on North Hill, the bin bags remained piled up most of the day – uncollected for the past two weeks.

Nicola Charlesworth, office supervisor of East Anglian Properties, in North Hill, said it was still a serious problem.

She said: “It has been really bad - it smells awful. Customers have had to move or walk round it to get to our door.

“We have not heard anything at all from the council about it – as a business we don't like the office front to be covered in bin bags.

“Some of the bags have been split, there is the possibility of rats and we would like them to be cleared.”

Wivenhoe Cross councillor, David Adams, Conservative, said residents had been aggrieved but he believed the system would prove to be one of the most successful in the long run.

He said: “I think with any change, and this is a big change, you have to be patient – in the long term, probably the next eight weeks, tops, we will have the best collection service in Essex, if not in the country.

“There have been problems with the vehicles, problems with some of the new crews who don't know the areas and problems with the capacity.”

He added one additional vehicle should be able to sort out the issue of capacity.

n This week has been a 'blue week' which means collections were of glass, cans, foil, textiles and paper and card. Next week is a green week when garden waste and plastics will be collected.

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