An emergency meeting will take place this Wednesday (June 8) to discuss the ongoing issues between waste contractor FCC and South Hams District Council.
An open letter was sent to South Hams Newspapers by the opposition party on Tuesday, June 7 stating: “The Liberal Democrats at SHDC have forced an extra-ordinary meeting of the Full Council to debate the continued chaos of bin collection in the South Hams.”
It continues: “The brown bin collection was suspended last August with no notice.
"The council announced the service would resume at the end of March this year.
"Since then, 10,000s of collections have been missed.
"On some days no bins have been collected at all.
"Local residents continue to pay for the service through council tax, but SHDC has refused to offer a rebate.”
South Hams District Council did not wish to discuss the individual politics of the situation, but commented on behalf of the Council saying: “The Council has taken legal advice and has written to FCC demanding that they rectify the situation as a matter of priority.
"The situation has gone on far too long and it urgently requires a resolution for residents.
“Unfortunately, the Council is unable to provide further details at this stage, but they will provide an update as soon as they are able to.
“At all stages, the Council has sought to work with the contractor to improve and resolve the situation.”
In response to South Hams District Council, the opposition and many other residents in the area, who have voiced their frustration at the service a spokesperson from FCC said: “FCC Environment understands South Hams residents’ frustration and annoyance with the continued disruption to the waste and recycling services.
“We would like to sincerely apologise for the failure to deliver the service you expect and deserve.
“In particular we would like to say sorry for the difficulties experienced with the reintroduction of the garden waste collection service.
"There are reasons for this but we want to clarify that when the service was rolled out we had recruited sufficient staff required under the contract to deliver the service but since then staff have left the contract and we have been unable to replace them. We are operating an average absence level of 14 per cent and, along with other issues which have made ongoing recruitment challenging, this has made delivering the service problematic. "Notwithstanding these issues, the residents have a right to expect a good and reliable service.”
“At all stages, FCC has sought to work with the council to improve and resolve the situation and this remains the case.
“We are fully committed to ensuring that everybody has a garden waste collection service on a reasonably regular basis whilst the ongoing issues are resolved. In addition, we are looking at how we can adjust our collection rounds to ensure that the same households are not missed each time.”
Speaking on behalf of the Lib Dem’s, Cllr Julian Brazil, said:
“Local residents have suffered for more than two and half years – they are angry and frustrated.
“If you pay for a service, you expect to have it delivered.
“The outsourcing has been a disaster and the reaction from the leadership at SHDC has ranged from no-existent to shambolic. Local people have completely lost confidence in the council.”
“Once again we will be calling on the council to terminate the contract and bring the service back in house.
“In 2018 we were the second-best local authority in the whole country, now we’re the worst.
“The average council tax in the South Hams is the highest in Devon and residents deserve better.”
The meeting will take place at 4 pm on Wednesday, June 8 at Follaton House.
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