Bin backlog across Comet country

WASTE has backlogged across Comet country over the Christmas period leaving residents worried about vermin and labelling their roads “disgusting”.

Icy roads, blizzards and the Christmas break have been named by local authorities as contributing factors to the problem.

Stevenage resident Samantha James says she has not had her rubbish collected for four weeks and says cats have ripped open bin bags, scattering rubbish across the area.

Miss James, of Hopton Road, says the problem has been exacerbated by Stevenage Borough Council preventing residents from using the refuse area and placing a wheelie bin across the road which she says is overflowing.

The 27-year-old account manager said: “Not only do we have this disgusting mess at the front of the flats, people are still putting their bins outside the bin shed at the back of the flats, very near to my bedroom window. I had the pleasure of seeing a cat eating away on a chicken carcass on the doorstep of the back door.”

Stevenage Borough Council disputes that refuse collection has been disrupted for that length of time and says it is working on a revised timetable to clear the rubbish.

A council spokesman said: “Flats had their rubbish collected on Christmas Eve and they will be collected today (Wednesday) because of the Christmas holidays.

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“It may be that because there’s more rubbish over the Christmas period it looks worse.”

Refuse collection in Central Bedfordshire was also affected with residents in Arlesey complaining that their bins had been left to overflow for almost a month.

A caller to The Comet who wished to remain anonymous said: “It’s so frustrating to be told it will be done on this day or that day but it’s not.

“I’ve been putting black bins out and cats are getting into them.

“I’ve seen rats in our garden before so this doesn’t help.”

Central Bedfordshire Council also disputes that the rubbish has been left to accumulate for four weeks and says that a normal service should be resumed this week.

Councillor David McVicar, portfolio holder for Safer Communities and Healthier Lifestyles at the council, said: “Claims that there have been no refuse collections in four weeks are grossly inaccurate and I’m not sure where this information has stemmed from.

“Like most parts of the UK, Central Bedfordshire was affected by adverse weather conditions and as such we had to suspend some of our regular waste collections prior to Christmas.

“Since then, our contractors have been working tirelessly – and over the two bank holidays – to catch up with the missed collections and we expect that our service will be running as normal by the end of this week.”

The neighbouring town of Shefford and the village of Henlow were also affected and heads of both their councils say they have received a number of complaints about the matter but add that the majority of rubbish has been collected.

Hitchin and Letchworth GC do not seem to have been affected as badly as the surrounding area.

However an online BBC story featured a quote attributed to Robert Mueller, of Hitchin, who claimed that his rubbish had not been collected for six weeks.

He said: “Many people’s bins in our street are overflowing and following the thaw it can only be a matter of time before rats, foxes and other vermin are attracted.”

North Herts District Council says its services will be running as normal today and apologises for any problems caused.

Councillor Lynda Needham, leader of NHDC, said: “During the severe weather conditions, our crews found that some brown bins either had frozen lids or frozen contents, meaning we couldn’t always collect them.

“On occasion, it was also impossible for our crews to access certain properties due to icy conditions on the roads.

“Our vehicles are much larger and heavier than cars and so pose significant safety issues if they slide on the ice.

“We apologise to residents affected by the disruption to collections but we do have to put the safety of our crews and the public first.”