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Suffolk Coastal garden waste changes prompts soaring complaints

PUBLISHED: 15:07 03 February 2019

The new larger green bins issued by Suffolk Coastal for garden waste. Picture: ARCHANT

The new larger green bins issued by Suffolk Coastal for garden waste. Picture: ARCHANT

ARCHANT

Suffolk Coastal District Council has apologised over delays in the rollout of its new larger green bins, amid soaring complaints over garden waste changes.

Carol Poulter, cabinet member for the green environment at Suffolk Coastal, admitted errors and delays from changing brown bins to green had prompted a high number of complaints. Picture: SUFFOLK COASTALCarol Poulter, cabinet member for the green environment at Suffolk Coastal, admitted errors and delays from changing brown bins to green had prompted a high number of complaints. Picture: SUFFOLK COASTAL

The council last year introduced a £43 annual charge for collecting garden waste, which included the option for homes to upgrade their existing brown bin to a larger 240l green bin for free.

But performance data for the three months to the end of December published ahead of the council’s cabinet meeting this week has revealed garden waste complaints have skyrocketed.

Of all the complaints the council dealt with over the October-January period, 43% were around garden waste changes, with nine in every 10 being upheld.

Council bosses have apologised for the issues, which it said were around the swapping of brown bins for the larger green bins.

Homes signed up to the £43 annual subscription were given the option of ditching the brown bin for a larger green bin. Picture: GREGG BROWNHomes signed up to the £43 annual subscription were given the option of ditching the brown bin for a larger green bin. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“We apologise to any of our customers, where we did not provide the high standard of service they required,” said councillor Carol Poulter, cabinet member for green environment.

“However, we were faced with an exceptional one-off period of high demand upon our services and hopefully were able to rectify the situation when people did need to complain.

“We have had a very good response to the launch of the garden waste scheme but that success created a huge logistical problem for our teams, who have done a fantastic job to upgrade tens of thousands of homes with new green bins.

“About 33,000 households – roughly 57% of homes – in Suffolk Coastal signed up to the garden waste scheme.

“Of these, 80% have opted to get the new larger green bins.

“The new bins had to be delivered to households in Suffolk Coastal, then separately we went through the process of removing the unwanted brown bins.

“We endeavoured to do this work as smoothly as possible, but there was an understandable spike in the number of complaints our customer services team had to deal with during this period.”

The new green bins are equipped with electronic ID tags which allows refuse crews to prevent anyone cheating the system.

The introduction of garden waste charges in Suffolk Coastal last year meant that Ipswich Borough Council is now the only Suffolk authority not to charge for the service.

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