Council gears up for tough winter

PUBLISHED: 09:00 31 October 2011 | UPDATED: 18:06 31 October 2011

Residents of Haywood Close, Weston who were forced to wait for weeks for a collection back in January

Residents of Haywood Close, Weston who were forced to wait for weeks for a collection back in January

Archant

TEMPORARY refuse and recycling centres will be set up across North Somerset this winter to prevent the chaos which ensued after last year's snow, the council has announced.

If bad weather continues for several days, sites in Weston, Worle, Yatton and Congresbury will be created to allow people to get rid of their refuse, recycling as well as their food and garden waste. More locations would be set up if required.

Snow and ice in December and January disrupted waste collections for six weeks, leaving bins overflowing, as lorries were unable to reach many parts of the region.

But North Somerset Council is confident that should similar weather hit the South West this winter, refuse collectors May Gurney will be able to cope better.

Cllr Peter Bryant, executive member for environment, said roads to the temporary rubbish sites would be gritted to allow as many people to get to them as possible.

He said: “It is well known that last Christmas and the New Year snow became a major problem and almost brought the country to a standstill.”

But he said it was ‘essential’ that the public is informed of any changes to published schedules as soon as possible.

The council’s Twitter and Facebook sites will update people of any issues and he called on councillors to help inform those who do not have internet access.

People are advised to put out their rubbish on the normal day unless they hear otherwise.

A special report into waste management was ordered following last winter’s problems and Cllr Bryant said he was confident the changes would work.

Lorries will be fitted with more advanced equipment to help them work and 240 pairs of crampons have been purchased by May Gurney for binmen.

The firm was heavily criticised by council leader Nigel Ashton earlier this year for its inability to keep the public informed, as ‘dreadful’.

A nationwide survey into how councils coped with the bad weather revealed that North Somerset was one of many who struggled to deal with the problems as two-thirds of those who responded said they had had to suspend services for at least a fortnight.

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