Binmageddon!: Veolia admits to botched leaflets delivery

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

What day is your bin collection this year? Thousands of Croydon residents have been left in the dark by Veolia

But on Christmas Eve in Croydon, in the middle of a Tier 4 coronavirus lockdown, functionaries from Veolia, the council’s rubbish contractors, were sent out door-to-door to deliver a double-sided sheet of paper that admitted they had ballsed-up the distribution of their annual refuse collection leaflet.

Senior sources at the Town Hall suggest that 24 streets – affecting thousands of residents – had been given the wrong information with the annual leaflet drop, carried out at the start of December.

But hundreds of responses from Inside Croydon readers over the Christmas weekend suggest that many thousands more have not received the annual information leaflet detailing recycling advice and the correct bin day through to the end of 2021.

The sheet that popped through the letterboxes of Croydon homes just a few hours before Santa appeared down their chimneys was, apparently, from Veolia’s “Education, Communications and Outreach Team”. Yes, they have such a thing.

Under the heading: “Incorrect delivery of recycling and waste collection services leaflet”, a nameless Veolia official wrote, “It has come to our attention that we sent you the wrong version of our recycling and waste collection leaflet. You received a leaflet stating the wrong collection day.

The Veolia admission that they’d ballsed-up: delivered just in time for Christmas

“The correct version of the calendar is on the reverse of this letter.

“We apologise for any confusion caused by the delivery of the incorrect leaflet. We thank you for your understanding and your efforts to recycle.”

This last sentence was presumably a reference to the paper recycling bins, which on many Croydon streets will now be full to overflowing with copies of the Veolia Recycling and Waste leaflet with the wrong collection dates.

As you might expect with anything involving public services delivered by Croydon Council or its contractors, the Veolia sheet had nothing as practical or helpful as a contact phone number or email address included for residents to use in the event of any questions or complaints.

The households receiving the leaflets had been instructed that their delivery days were to change from Fridays to Wednesdays. That, it now turns out, was false information It reconfirms the widely-held suspicion that, in so many respects, Veolia doesn’t know what day of the week it is…

Every area of the borough is supposed to receive a bespoke copy of the six-page gatefold leaflet. Collection dates vary from area to area, and it is the council’s, and their contractors’, responsibility to ensure that that information is confirmed or updated at least once a year.

But despite the council’s propaganda department, in a press release issued just before Christmas, claiming that, “A printed leaflet of collection dates until November 2021 has also been delivered to households across the borough”, Inside Croydon has discovered that not only has the wrong leaflets been delivered in some streets, other areas have received no leaflets at all.

And, as you might expect with anything involving public services delivered by Croydon Council or its contractors, it is virtually impossible to reach anyone at the council by phone or email to try to rectify that omission.

The council’s latest bin collection leaflet – a rare thing in many parts of the borough

“It’s all very well saying that the information is on the council website,” said one short-changed Council Tax-payer. “But even in 2020, not everyone has access to the internet – especially now the council’s closed so many of its libraries. And the council’s website is not exactly a paragon of easy navigation – you really have to search hard to find the right page.

“The leaflet is a handy guide for the refuse collection and recycling services – so not to receive one at all is a serious inconvenience for many residents.”

Inside Croydon has received notifications from the following Croydon streets that residents there have never received the 2020-2021 Veolia Recycling And Waste leaflets. Of course, this may not be an exhaustive list, but it is extensive enough to show that there has been a serious failure in the delivery of this important public information this year:

East Hill, Sanderstead, CR2 0AL
Hartscroft, Forestdale, CR0 9LA
Byron Avenue, Coulsdon, CR5 2JR
Inwood Avenue, Old Coulsdon, CR5 1LP
Dorset Gardens, Thornton Heath, CR4 1LX
Little Roke Avenue, Kenley, CR8 5NN
Selsdon Road, South Croydon, CR2 6PT
Placehouse Lane, Old Coulsdon, CR5 1LA
Pampisford Road, South Croydon, CR2 6DB
Alpine Close, Park Hill, CR0 5UN
Sanderstead Court Avenue, Sanderstead, CR2 9AJ
Orchard Rise, Shirley, CR0 7QZ
Ash Road, Shirley, CR0 8HU
Sangley Road, South Norwood, SE25 6QT
Inglis Rd, Addiscombe, CR0 6QW
Kempton Walk, Monks Orchard, CR0 7XG
Oaks Road, Addington Hills, CR0 5HL
Featherbed Lane, New Addington, CR0 9AD
Havelock Road, Addiscombe, CR0 6QQ
Warren Road, Purley, CR8 1AA
Winchet Walk, Shirley Park, CR0 7YL
Markfield, Court Wood Lane, Forestdale, CR0 9HR
Gravel Hill, Addington, CR0 5BE
Mayday Road, Thornton Heath, CR7 7HP
Langdale Road, Thornton Heath, CR7 7PS
Sandhurst Close, Selsdon, CR2 0AD
Glenthorne Avenue, Shirley, CR0 7EY
Montpelier Road, Purley, CR8 2QF
Addisons Close, Shirley, CR0 8DX
Elliott Road, Thornton Heath, CR7 7QA
Hilltop Road, Kenley, CR3 0DD
Caterham Drive, Kenley, CR5 1JL
Barnards Place, South Croydon, CR2 6DZ
Portnalls Road, Coulsdon, CR5 3DE
Lime Meadow Avenue, Sanderstead, CR2 9AR
Ewhurst Avenue, Sanderstead, CR2 0DJ
Witherby Close, South Croydon, CR0 5SU
Dunley Drive, New Addington, CR0 0RF
Mosslea Road, Kenley, CR3 0DS
Ellis Close, Coulsdon, CR5 1BQ
Orchard Avenue, Shirley, CR0 7NL
Spa Close, South Norwood, SE25 6DS
Selsdon Avenue, South Croydon, CR2 6PP
Ravenshead Close, Selsdon, CR2 8RL
Ross Road, South Norwood, SE25 6SB
Glyn Close, South Norwood, SE25 6DT

Of course, in the absence of the leaflet, many readers had no idea that they had been missed out at all, until they read Inside Croydon.

Some speculated that they had not received a leaflet because they live in the south of the borough, others thought that it was part of the cuts being imposed at Croydon’s  bankrupt council.

Steve Iles: council director agreed £21m annual increase in payments to Veolia

In fact, neither explanation is true.

The annual leaflet was budgeted as part of Veolia’s service long ago. Thanks to Steve Iles, the council’s woefully under-qualified director of public realm, Veolia recently had their contract value in Croydon generously increased by a tidy £21million. And as the spread of missed deliveries above shows, with addresses from South Norwood to Coulsdon and all points in between, those who have failed to receive a leaflet have missed out in an entirely indiscriminate manner.

It may be that in many of the cases listed above, a single home has not received a leaflet. It is also possible that entire streets have not been leafleted (we have had reports from different addresses on the same road which suggests as much). Some of our readers have checked with neighbours and confirmed that to be the case.

All in all, it means that thousands of Council Tax-payers have not received vital information about one of the few services that the council still provides.

It all seems to be because Veolia have been allowed to cut a few corners and save a few bob by not using Royal Mail to distribute their leaflets.

The result is the latest litany of incompetence and ineptitude shown by the council and its contractors.

Read more: Confusion and delay on Christmas collections
Read more: Thousands miss out on council rubbish leaflet

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
This entry was posted in Croydon Council, Refuse collection, Steve Iles, Veolia and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Binmageddon!: Veolia admits to botched leaflets delivery

  1. Maverick says:

    You could not make this balls up even if you tried ! Why are those on the Council who are completely crap at their job rewarded, no wonder Steve Iles is smiling . A Director who agrees an uplift to a contractor when the council is in financial shit ! Questions need to be asked and investigated.

  2. Longsuffering says:

    Please feel free to add Brighton Road, Purley, CR8 4HF to your list where the first we knew about the original calendar was the receipt of a scrappy pice of paper correcting it! Oh, by the way, we never got one last year either!

  3. taralittlestar says:

    We never received our annual flyer either on Woodcrest Road CR8

  4. Ann Shepherd says:

    Holmwood Avenue, South Croydon havent received leaflets either from Veolia.

  5. Nick Davies says:

    How difficult can it be?

    You can be sure that, come election time, the candidates will ensure that their patch is exhaustively leafleted. Well, sure-ish. If they can’t manage such a simple task themselves you might consider, when deciding who to favour with your X, if they can oversee a bin emptying schedule.

  6. Longsuffering says:

    Might the list be shorter with streets that did receive the CORRECT document? Can we be assured that this Veolia debacle will have no impact on Croydon’s delicate financial situation and that all extra expense is borne nett by Veolia?

  7. Linda Myles says:

    Cowley Close, Selsdon, South Croydon did not receive the leaflets either!

  8. Joe Clark says:

    How on earth can this shite still be happening at our Council. If Ms Kerswell really was parachuted in to the CEO role by central government, you’d like to think she had something about her that would enable her to see the kinds of numpties that are sitting at director level across Croydon, wouldn’t you? This clown Steve Iles seems to mess up big time on a near weekly basis, yet he’s always there, smiling like a big eared Cheshire cat, as if to say “how the feck did i land this dream job, i am being paid bundles of money to screw up at every opportunity, yet no one holds me to account for any of it, happy days”.
    Yet the low paid workers at the council who do their jobs to the best of their ability, are laid off or threatened with redundancy as a direct result of the cock ups of these clowns in senior management. Steve Iles should be kicked down the road like his mentor Negreedy, but without the golden handshake!

  9. Dave Tomlinson says:

    I used to work for Steve Iles. He’s never been any different and is ruthless. His qualifications to do his job though extremely questionable. He did start on the bottom rung in the stores and has absolutely no accountancy qualifications as far as I am aware, yet he now in charge of contract extensions worth £21m. Curious that.

    • Joe Clark says:

      Dave, he has an abundance of the one qualification that was a requirement under Jo Negreedy and Pumpkin face Newman, he’s absolutely fantastically shite at everything he does, that qualified him for a directorship under the old regime. Trebles all round!! Let’s see if the new regime find him out.

      • Maverick says:

        Dave & Joe…totally agree with you both, let’s take a step back and look at Steve Iles MBE ( mad boiled egg) a person with not one qualification for the position he holds unless you count his Boy Scout badges !
        It’s time now for the council to wake up and smell the coffee that they are carrying a freeloader !

        • Joe Clark says:

          Maverick, i thought you were having a laugh with the MBE bit, i asked my partner (she works for the Council), and it is true, he does have one! He got it for sending some Croydon Council workers down to the A22 Godstone Road to help the Fire Brigade when it flooded! You get an MBE for that? WTF!!!!!!

          • Dave Tomlinson says:

            I can’t believe HE got it! I don’t very much if he actually went on site himself, just sent his minions probably. Not like the first time the Bourne flooded about 20 years ago when we all went down around Christmas time it was. Our then boss Dave Wickens really went above and beyond then, but then he led by example. In my opinion, Mr. Steve Ilse’s MBE could stand for ‘My Backstabbing Ethics’.

  10. eviebee2013 says:

    Cheston Avenue, Shirley – no leaflet OR correction letter either. How much longer must we endure the bunch of incompetent idiots running our council? Our streets are a mess, our pavements a disgrace, they are threatening to close one of our tips and our support staff are being laid off or leaving in droves. Oh – and Croydon is bankrupt…

    • Joe Clark says:

      Eviebee2013, it might be two out of our three tips being closed, and that’s after Veolia were given an extra £21 million only in September of this year, supposedly to safeguard the three tips, you just could not make it up could you!!

  11. Joe Camel says:

    Oval rd, cr0 6bg has had nothing. The disaster of the bin bag trial has come to an end , what drama awaits us next? No doubt another disgusting and disappointing episode of ‘Croydon Council Ballses it up again’ inflicted on the residents. If I wake up to find they have brought back those giant wheelie bins that cover the entire street I won’t be responsible for my actions, and why should I be when they so clearly aren’t!

  12. Bev says:

    Nothing in Coulsdon CR5 3JU
    And missed collecting bins even when in the area it’s appalling and I do hope
    They don’t up the council tax bill

  13. John King says:

    I’ve got a spare one in Longlands Avenue, CR5 post code but London Borough of Sutton, is this a closet invasion we ask ourselves??? Signed – I’ve Seen It Bin Leaflet, no relation to the other one I hasten to add, yes that’s right – I’ve Not Seen It Bin Leaflet

  14. The only reason I stomach paying my council tax is because somewhere in it is a fee for refuse collection. If Croydon Council have fucked this up with their contractor, I want answers.

    The irony is in 2021 (almost) Croydon Council have no way of communicating with their shareholders other than sticking a piece of paper through the letterbox which will end up in the recycling 5min later. Croydon Council is PATHETIC.

    If they had sense they would shut down their useless press / communications department and subcontract out the work to Inside Croydon.

  15. P Pauline Troop says:

    As an ex commercial waste customer of Veolla it is no surprise to me what so ever, that Veolia are still so incompetent what does surprise me is that Croydon Council are still using them, and indeed rewarding them for there incompetance. Something very wrong there

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