Now the clean-up begins.
Though with Veolia struggling to fulfil their commitments to collect refuse from residents across three south London boroughs, the post-Christmas clear out looks like taking much longer than usual.
Residents in Croydon who had new, smaller, wheelie bins imposed upon them by the council and their rubbish contractors last September, are becoming increasingly anxious that all their Christmas waste might be ignored by Veolia, as the binmen apply new rules which insist that they don’t need to empty any bins which are full to overflowing.
“No one told us about this new rule when they delivered the new bins,” one resident in Shirley told Inside Croydon. “Yet now, we haven’t had our bins emptied since before Christmas, and our smaller landfill bin is full up.”
A special, revised collection schedule was issued by the council and Veolia before the Christmas holidays.
But Inside Croydon has received reports from several neighbourhoods to suggest that Veolia’s bin collections in the week before the New Year were haphazard, at best.
And since New Year’s day, as the rubbish collections are supposed to return to the regular schedule, more householders have been left waiting with piles of cardboard and paper recycling and full-to-the-brim landfill bins left on their doorsteps.
“They’ve simply just not turned up,” one resident in Waddon said.
“We pay our Council Tax, and we don’t get a reliable service. The bin collections had only just settled down after they changed them in September, but now we’ve gone three weeks, and nothing.”
The new bins were introduced across the borough last summer, part of a revision of service provided under a deal negotiated through the opaque and unaccountable South London Waste Partnership, which comprises Kingston, Sutton, Merton and Croydon.
There was never any public consultation about the new service conducted in Croydon, and although plans were well advanced to introduce the scheme in April 2018, it was kept firmly under wraps until after the local elections were held in May.
Under contracts negotiated with Veolia on behalf of all four councils, each borough is supposed to save £5million a year on its waste collection and street cleaning services.
At a cost to Council Tax-payers of £2.3million, thousands of householders in Croydon were issued with new, 180-litre bins for their unrecyclable, uncompostable landfill waste. These bins are one-third smaller than their previous landfill bins, and so logically are liable to become full more quickly. Stuart Collins, the Labour council’s cabinet member for fly tipping and dirty streets, reckons that having smaller bins will make Croydon residents more likely to recycle.
The evidence, so far, is that the opposite is in fact the case.
With landfill collections only being made from households only once a fortnight (if we’re lucky), the over-full smaller wheelie bins are increasingly being left unemptied by Veolia’s bin men, on the basis that their lids are not properly closed. The result is an increase in fly tipping of domestic waste.
“People are just dumping their bin bags on street corners now,” one angry Fairfield resident told Inside Croydon. “What else are they supposed to do with them if Veolia won’t take then?
“The foxes get into them overnight, and there’s mess everywhere. If we’re lucky, a roadsweeper might come along a few days later. But otherwise, there’s just even more rubbish on our streets. It’s disgusting.”
With infrequent and unreliable service from Veolia since mid-December, many others have encountered similar issues in the past week to 10 days.
Town Hall sources suggest that Labour ward councillors are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the amount of casework and complaints that they are having to field as a result of the Binmageddon changes. The sneeky way in which the closed lids rule was announced – after most households had accepted the smaller bins – is proving a particular cause of concern among Tony Newman’s usually quiet backbenchers.
And the disruption to the rubbish service over Christmas seems to have made an already creaking system worse, with families generating more rubbish than usual, and Veolia managing to miss more collections than normal.
The council’s reporting mechanism for missed bin collections, especially over the holiday period, remains non-existent, with the call centre on reduced hours and the MyCroydon CrapApp v2.0 still without any category for reporting missed collections. With the public effectively prevented from reporting Veolia’s failed service, Collins has been able to claim the success of only 1 per cent missed collections.
On top of all that, next week the council’s (excellent, in theory) free collection and recycling of disused Christmas trees is due to begin, when thousands of dead trees will be left on the pavements of Croydon in the hope that someone might take them away. Happy new year! Trebles all round!
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It’s not just the bins that have changed. The quality of service has diminished too. Now, after the Veolia vehicle has gone, you see bits of rubbish strewn across the road. Veolia she not leave without picking up the rubbish THEY have dropped.
Since the new collections started you can always tell what has been collected by the residue in the street where the residue is deposited. The carelessness with the food bins where they are tossed back into our front garden has led to us need new bins which I am sure will ending up costing Croydon and not the contractor. During the leaf fall season the leaves were carefully swept up by the contractor into a pile outside our gate and left there for the wind to blow them onto our drive for us to sweep up. Is this Croydon getting us to help more ?
What a complete and utter debacle. The outsourced state has done one thing. Created a state of near anarchy in the provision of public services. Will this mickey mouse sub-contractor pay any substantial penalty for this terrible of affairs. What do you think !!!
Looks like DaFT (prop. C Grayling) has been taking advice from Croydon Council on hiring shipping companies. Though at least Veolia actually has some dustcarts.
So the blue (paper) recycling bins weren’t collected last week. No problem, an honest mistake I’m sure! I logged onto the website where it did indeed state that the collection was “outstanding”. Great, they know there is a problem.
However, there’s a “Report it” button. I press it and lo and behold, a lorry comes to pick it up the next day. Great! However, they ignore the 20 other blue bins standing outside in the rest of the street – literally picked up my bin (as I bothered to report it) then drove off.
1) If they know it’s outstanding, why not fix it? Why do I have log in, and press a button to tell them?
2) If they send someone out, could they perhaps not allocate an extra 5/10mins to collect everyone else’s rubbish too?
With the food waste, I reported it and noone turned up for that (a whole street going >16days without food waste collection over Christmas, with all the traditional veg peelings). I’m all for recycling, but they’re not making it easy for us to “do our bit”. Next time maybe I’ll hand deliver it to the floor of Fishers Folly reception for them.
Peelings? In food waste?
Back in the Noughties, Croydon Council distributed composting bins to those who’d have them. The greenest policy the council has had in a very long time.
Local government is a world of contrasts. Staffed with some very hard working, caring people who know what they are doing, and working effectively, yet also cursed by occasional incompetent or even corrupt officers (some at senior levels) and occasional councilors of the kind who have stalked the pages of Private Eye’s “Rotten Boroughs” column over the decades.
Cursed also by poor decision making which led to use of those “contractors” like the now defunct Carillion, whose business model is to provide as little as possible to the employer for as much remuneration as possible using as few staff as possible, providing a service of as low a quality as possible without being sacked.
One thing of the biggest problems now affecting councils is the self-imposed “Communications Policy” that distances the officers providing or monitoring the services from the member of the public seeking information. Inserted between the two is the “Customer Services Centre” . Th e “help centre” that so often does not help at all, merely delaying matters and setting up barriers, resulting in angry customers. One way the council could improve its service is to remove these barriers. It’s good to talk ………. direct to your local highway inspector if there is a pothole in your street that has lain unrepaired for weeks…… direct to the tree officer about a tree that looks hazardous…….. and many more.
Remember the mainstream media used to use images like this during the Winter of Discontent to demonstrate the country wasn’t working. The laugh is now these images represent how this country works !