More Than 2,000 Complaints Pour In To District Councils Rubbish and Recyling Hotline

PUBLISHED: 17:36 24 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 04 May 2010

RECYCLING is still going uncollected in East Cambs - despite £15,000-worth of investment in a new complaint hotline. More than 2,600 people phoned to complain about the waste and recycling service since the Veolia-run phone line was installed in January.

RECYCLING is still going uncollected in East Cambs - despite £15,000-worth of investment in a new complaint hotline.

More than 2,600 people phoned to complain about the waste and recycling service since the Veolia-run phone line was installed in January.

The majority of complaints were about uncollected recycling (around 34 per cent) and bags not left - 29 per cent, but the district council says its "service review" will iron out any problems.

Whilst other Cambridgeshire councils have soared ahead in the recycling push - some sending less than half their waste to landfill sites - East Cambs lags behind with a recycling rate of around 36 per cent.

Some have put this down to the council's refusal to pay for wheelie bins - whilst all other Cambridgeshire councils use them.

Veolia are paid £2.2million to collect recycling and black bags from East Cambridgeshire residents and deliver them to Donarbon waste management at Waterbeach.

Fred Brown, leader of East Cambs District Council, and John Hill, its chief executive, have held regular meetings with Veolia's manager locally, but despite private discussions to fund wheelie bins or black bags "the council is not in a position to consider any of the options provided by Veolia," it says.

Legal disputes over the removal of chewing gum, replacing black boxes, providing extra brown sacks for green waste and litter picking off the A14 and A11 have yet to be addressed by the contractor.

Councillor David Brown, who is lead member on Waste and Recycling at East Cambridgeshire District Council said: "Over the last year we have experienced a number of issues with the waste and recycling service in the district. It would be naïve to ignore this for while we know there are some very good crews working in the district doing a very difficult job, we know there is room for improvement.

"The service review will allow us to take stock of what has happened over the last 12 months and more importantly what can be done to improve the situation. By the council handling feedback through the customer helpline we can see exactly the problems which face our residents such as missed collections or sacks not being replaced. We would like to assure residents that we will continue to do all we can to make our contractors provide the high quality service which was promised as part of the contract and which they are paid to do.

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