Words: John Baron
Bin collections across Leeds are facing ‘massive operational challenges’ due to the Coronavirus pandemic and are set to face ongoing issues.
That was the message given to councillors on the Outer West Community Committee, who held a special meeting to discuss issues with bin collections and street cleansing with council officers. They say they are being inundated with complaints from the public over missed collections.
Director of communities and environment at Leeds City Council, James Rogers, told the meeting he was pleased the way the waste management team had been able to respond to pandemic. He said:
“The service is clearly facing challenges, in part due to the pandemic and staffing. Even before Covid, we were working with routes designed many years ago. We Need to do a significant review of all routes so they are as effective as they should be.”
Mr Rogers said improvements to the routes were highly dependent on the opening on a new depot opening for the service. He added:
“Executive Board gave approval last year and it’s in the process of being built. It will be operational early 2022 and will give us a key focus to carry out a route review to deal with some of the underlying issues.”
Mr Rogers also flagged ongoing issues with access due to parking issues on some streets, and said new traffic orders should help alleviate these problems.
He also flagged a 15% increase in waste (430 tonnes extra each week), and said this had created a ‘significant addition’ to the normal workload. He added:
“In the main the team have responded really well. We don’t see the excess waste reducing significantly. We’ve now had 16 months dealing with pandemic, our staff have significantly gone above and beyond during that period of time, and many are now wanting to catch up on leave they didn’t take before. That is something we have to deal with.
“I’m not using that as an excuse, I just wanted to set the background.”
David Blackburn (Green, Farnley & Wortley) told the online meeting he was getting emails every day in similar places, days and routes, flagging up Blue Hill Lane as an example. He also said missed collections were not being reported by refuse staff and flagged wider issues with match-day parking from Leeds United causing access problems in some parts.
Cllr Trish Smith (Cons, Pudsey) acknowledged the staffing issues but added concerns about ‘poor’ street cleaning in Pudsey, and pointed to the Litter Free Pudsey group, who were picking up large amounts of litter. “Why are we still struggling with that element?” she asked. Cllr Smith also said improved communication from the department was essential.
Cllr Amanda Carter (Cons, Calverley & Farsley) said the number of complaints from members of the public was ‘unsustainable’. She added:
“I know its been difficult and there is difficulty with holidays coming up but we were giving problems before lockdown, although I understand Covid has compounded it. My ward has one of the highest missed rates in Leeds.
“Flytipping is horrendous in our ward. We have an excellent If Leeds not have a charge to go to the tip we wouldn’t have these problems. We want proper solutions, you may need to be innovative, but we can’t sustain the number of complaints we are getting. The public are going spare about it.”
The Outer West Community Committee is made up of nine councillors from Calverley & Farley, Farnley & Wortley and Pudsey wards.
Brown bin collections may be sacrificed, says Leeds City Council
Collections of brown bins carrying garden waste could be affected as Leeds City Council struggles to keep up to bin collections across the city, it has been revealed today.
A statement released by the local authority has said it will continue to prioritise black and green bin collections. A Leeds City Council spokesperson said:
“While every effort is continuing to be made to ensure that all brown bin collections are undertaken on the appropriate day, the emptying of black and green bins continues to be the priority.
“There has been a significant rise recently in the infection rate in Leeds. This, together with the continued legal requirements for staff to isolate and our Covid-19 secure working practices, has led to an additional and significant impact on the refuse service.
“This affects not just the number of staff available to complete all collection rounds, but also staff who are often having to stand down part way through the day to ensure they are meeting legal requirements and protecting their own health, their colleagues and members of the public. These resource pressures are putting a strain on many different elements of the service, including the ambition to make recovery collections of any bins that might have been missed in a 48-hour period.”
The spokesperson added that recovery sessions for missed bins may not always be possible and added:
“Leeds City Council would like to reassure residents that all measures and steps are being taken to enable as many recovery collections as possible, but there is a possibility that some may not take place due to the reasons highlighted. The council would again like to thank residents for their continued patience and understanding in what continue to be very testing circumstances.”
Residents are advised that all Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) in the city remain open and available to take items such as garden waste and unwanted household items such as broken furniture/beds, electrical goods, white goods, mattresses and toys. To book a slot, click here.
For further updates regarding refuse collections in Leeds, residents are advised to download the handy Leeds Bins app on their mobile phone, or check their days here. Updates will also be provided through social media channels including on Twitter @LCCNews and Facebook at: Leeds City Council.
Once again the council does not think twice about increasing my council tax (by nearly £100)but still fail to police the area to a safe standard/fail to collect refuse (contacted them on numerous occasions,no response).They have removed the visitors centre , which brought revenue into the town(still waiting to see who has been awarded the contracts for demolition etc/or been given use of the premises)but I am sure the people of Pudsey will be watching with interest.
Brown Bin was not collected yesterday I.e., 0n 25/9/2021 from 54 Sholebroke Mount Area post code LS7 3JG Leeds. Kindly depute somebody to pick it up regards.
Black and green bins not been emptied for 6 weeks no excuse saying that cars are blocking there way absolutely disgusting rats mice on street