BINMAGEDDON!: Veolia are ‘failing’ says ex-council leader

Another week, another missed bins collection for former deputy mayor of London, Val Shawcross

Veolia, Croydon’s rubbish contractors, are “a failing organisation” who cannot be taken seriously and “can’t even collect the bins in south London”.

That’s according to a former deputy mayor of London and ex-leader of Croydon Council, Valerie Shawcross. Indeed, Shawcross was so animated over the issue that she sent the same tweet to Veolia and related accounts three times last Friday.

The Labour politician and Upper Norwood resident accuses Veolia of having “failed to collect our green waste bin for the fourth consecutive occasion”.

Shawcross added, “Complaints are not responded to.”

Veolia are responsible for refuse bin collections and street cleaning across four boroughs in the South London Waste Partnership, which comprises Sutton, Merton and Kingston as well as Croydon. Following renegotiated and new contracts covering all four boroughs introduced over the last 18 months, public dissatisfaction with the done-on-the-cheap service is widespread, and growing.

Inside Croydon reported last month how Shawcross had made her complaints after her green waste bin – a service for which she pays an extra fee – had gone unemptied for three consecutive collections.

Her reports of the missed collections through Veolia’s and Croydon Council’s automated response systems accused her of being in the wrong, claiming that Shawcross had not “presented” her bin correctly – something which the former London Assembly Member disputes.

Val Shawcross: still waiting for the servuice she paid for

“If Kafka did a waste service, this would be it,” she said at the time.

In the end, only personal intervention from Croydon councillor Stuart Collins, the Labour council cabinet member for fly tips and dirty streets, saw Shawcross’s bin duly emptied the very next day.

But come last Friday, and the next scheduled green waste collection, and for Veolia, it was a case of “normal service is resumed”.

According to Town Hall sources, Shawcross’s understandable frustration with “failing” Veolia is matched by many of her erstwhile colleagues in the Croydon Labour group at the council.

“Val’s a much-respected figure, who was our council leader before serving for 16 years on the London Assembly, during which time she chaired the fire brigade panel and was Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor for transport in the capital,” they said.

“It’s fair to say she knows how local government works, and with Veolia, it is not working at all.

“We’re seeing the reports from the other boroughs, and their experiences are matching ours. As councillors, we seem to be spending a lot of our surgery time dealing with complaints about missed bin collections and the state of our streets.

Blighted by bins: Veolia’s service has been criticised across south London

“Stuart [Collins] works very hard, but one councillor can’t keep track of all Veolia’s failings. We know he’s docked their payments for poor service. But now we’re hearing that Veolia are admitting that they cannot deliver the service required, under their recently renegotiated contract, for the money we are paying them, and that they want their payments increased.

“But when are the councils in the South London Waste Partnership going to act in the interests of their residents and businesses, and find a way of delivering a service that is up to the standard we need?”

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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5 Responses to BINMAGEDDON!: Veolia are ‘failing’ says ex-council leader

  1. Daniel Kelly says:

    No problems apparent around Riddlesdown but the bin men do keep leaving bins in middle of pavement, which isn’t good for visually impaired or people with pushchairs.

  2. #plimsoll line# says:

    To my utter and pleasant surprise, when I reported a missed bin collection online, it was collected within the hour! Hurray for when things work.

  3. Bob G says:

    Alas, only 3 consecutive missed collections. We are currently at 5, after a “Christmas present” from the council brought the last run of 10 missed collections to an end. Not a peep from Stuart Collins throughout.

  4. Paul Stuart says:

    Same problem in Sheffield, Veolia, Bloody useless.

  5. I’ve almost given up trying to get the council to empty my bins. A half hearted attempt was made to empty a bin one day but they seem to have given up again… the problem is being solved at the moment by me stacking up the recycling in the garage. I approximate that this solution will solve the problem until 2025. I’ve tried nagging Newman, Bulter and Jones …all to no avail. I’ve even offered to meet the council half way and drop off my rubbish at the Council Offices which are half way between my flat and the dump. After all, it is their property and they must want it so really it’s no more than doing them a favour and reducing their contractor’s carbon footprint. Perhaps if we all offered to take our rubbish down to Mint Walk Reception the Council would be forced to do something… even if it was only to search out a statute to prosecute us under…

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