Council defends rubbish collections

NORTH Somerset streets became littered with rubbish over the festive period following more than a week of widespread snow and ice.

Numerous complaints were made by residents as piles of waste and recycling stacked up outside their homes over Christmas and New Year.

However, despite the huge number of people left disgruntled and concerned for their health, North Somerset Council said it and its waste contractor, May Gurney, did everything possible to deal with the backlog that resulted from the missed collections during December’s extreme weather.

The expected higher volume of waste over Christmas also added to the problem.

In Clevedon, some households did not have items collected for as long as three weeks resulting in many streets being lined with litter and recycling.

Mike Fuller of Tennyson Avenue said: “Everyone has had huge stacks of rubbish outside.

“It would be good to know who manages the contractors. Do they get fined for this?”

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In Portishead, the situation was much the same.

Rhys Hughes of the Village Quarter said: “If you looked at some areas of the Village Quarter there was piles of rubbish all over the place.

“Bins were overflowing and some people were told to take their rubbish to the tip themselves.

“Recycling is a great idea as long as they catch back up.”

North Somerset Council’s executive member for environment Carl Francis-Pester said: “Effectively we lost three whole days and three half days because of the weather.

“If you were to work out the normal catch up time needed to cover that it would be something in the region of 20-24 days.”

Efforts to clear the backlog of rubbish included setting up four temporary bring sites to allow residents to deliver their items to awaiting trucks, nine extra vehicles were put into operation and staff levels were increased by half.

Councillor Francis-Pester said: “We wanted to inconvenience the public as little as possible.

“You also have to realise that in extreme weather conditions, if you’ve got an inch-and-a-half of ice on the side roads then you are not going to get a 25 tonne rubbish truck down there.

“We do not simply send operatives home - the crews were helping with filling grit bins and gritting side roads and pavements.

“In the future we could look at possibly setting up more temporary bring sites.”