Council is ‘knuckling down’ on waste collection firm after rise in complaints

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 July 2017

Cllr Peter Bryant (fourth from right) unveiling Biffa as the new contractor in February.

Cllr Peter Bryant (fourth from right) unveiling Biffa as the new contractor in February.

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Waste collection in North Somerset ‘has not been good enough’ since the £10million-a-year contract with a new company began, senior councillors have admitted.

Biffa took over responsibility for waste and recycling collection for North Somerset Council in February, replacing the previous contractor Kier.

The authority said in April that the change had not resulted in a spike in complaints, but leading councillors have now admitted there have been problems with both waste collection and the way complaints have been handled in its call centres.

Many complaints relate to missed collections and the mess left behind by crews.

Cllr Peter Bryant, executive member responsible for waste management, said the situation would be under control in the next three to four weeks.

He said: “Since Biffa took over there have been a number of problems we didn’t quite experience when we had Kier.

“We are knuckling down and Biffa is responding.”

MORE: Council pleased with first few months of waste contract.

Council leader Nigel Ashton admitted the situation has not been good enough.

He said: “I think we are all aware of the number of complaints coming in about the service and call centre. It needs improvement.

“We do put a lot of pressure on contractors, it is not taken lightly.

“It is something we have regular meeting about to say it is not good enough.”

Councillors reported how residents have made repeated complaints to the call centre about missed collections, but the situation had not been dealt with.

One woman living on one of Weston’s estates said she had been waiting for a year for a replacement bin after hers was stolen.

Cllr Bryant said he met with the managing director at Biffa to bring the problems to his attention.

He said: “Complaints we have been getting from residents have waned in the past week or 10 days and that’s happening more and more.

“I’m asking you to be patient. In about three to four weeks we will have it under control.

“The number of roads being missed are being reduced.

“We also need to look into where we are failing with the call centre.”

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