‘Recycling lorries putting kids’ lives at risk by breaching contract’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 20 June 2018

A lorry wrongly using the roads near Backwell Junior School.

A lorry wrongly using the roads near Backwell Junior School.

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Recycling lorry drivers have been putting children’s lives at risk by breaching rules about when they can operate near a North Somerset school, parents say.

One of the lorries in Dark Lane, in Backwell. One of the lorries in Dark Lane, in Backwell.

The terms of a contract between North Somerset Council and its refuse collector Biffa mean lorries cannot use Church Lane and Dark Lane in Backwell during school drop-off and pick-up times.

The council held a number of meetings with Biffa in July 2017 when it was clear the contract was being breached.

The issue appeared resolved but parents who have been following the situation say Biffa has been wrongly using the narrow roads during school collection and drop-off hours again.

A council spokesman said the authority was ‘disappointed’ with the recent spate of incidents.

Backwell recycling centre. Backwell recycling centre.

MORE: Parents vow to ‘remain vigilant’ over recycling lorries driving past school during banned hours.

Parent Lorraine Hopkinson-Parker said: “The reason for this inclusion in Biffa’s contract is because Backwell Junior School sits next to the recycling centre and the residential roads and pavements are narrow.

“Every morning and afternoon hundreds of small children and their parents are using these roads and pavements, as they have done so for the past 150 years since the school was built.

“These huge lorries pose a serious danger to the children.

“Despite promises and assurances from both North Somerset Council and Biffa I have recorded 23 breaches of contract since March last year. These are only the ones I have recorded so I am sure there are many more I am not aware of.

“Every breach represents a very real threat of serious injury or even death to our children.”

A council spokesman said: “We take these incidents seriously and speak with Biffa when they occur. We are also disappointed there has been a recent spate as we had a six-month period when there were no breaches.

“In the case of the recent incidents, the driver of the waste collection vehicle was agency staff and was brought in (with others) as part of the new routes introduced from June 4 and in order to help with the additional work required in the first two weeks.

“They were provided with information but didn’t follow it, possibly due to them being unfamiliar with the area. They have now left.”

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