“Disappointingly mixed” review of waste collection in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 January 2017

A Veolia waste vehicle unloading

A Veolia waste vehicle unloading

Alexis Duclos

Street cleanliness and promptness of waste collection have been described as “disappointingly mixed” after being scrutinised by district councillors last week.

The community, environment and leisure scrutiny committee acknowledged that there had been improvements since Veolia took over the waste contract six months ago.

But leaf collection had been “inadequate”, concerns were raised about the emptying of on-street litter bins and there were reports of missed bin collections.

However, missed collection reports have reduced since the start of the contract, especially from residents in flats.

Recycling has also risen from 53 per cent this time last year to about 60 per cent, on track for the council’s targets of 62 per cent for 2017/18.

There has also been a pilot scheme in Redbourn, with stickers on bins explaining how residents can notify Veolia if they need emptying, and a new street cleaning schedule which will start in February.

Chair of the committee, Cllr Anthony Rowlands, said: “Officers’ report on the first few months of Veolia’s new contract showed that their performance has been disappointingly mixed.

“It is welcome news that the contractor and residents have achieved increases in recycling rates.

“However, it is clear that the contractor has under-performed in a number of ways.”

He said the committee was assured that the problems were being overcome and thanked the local workforce for implementing the contract, but said a “much better performance” should be required of Veolia’s management.

Keith McGurk, regional director for Veolia, said: “The significant increase in the household recycling rate is great news following the major service change that Veolia implemented last year.

“We would like to thank residents for embracing the changes.

“Our team is working hard in the district to ensure the high standards of cleanliness are maintained.

“In partnership with the council, roads susceptible to leaf fall were identified and during the autumn arrangements were made for the regular cleansing of these, in addition to normal street cleansing operations.

“We will be working with the council to review these roads in preparation for next year’s leaf fall clearance.”

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