Letchworth couple seek answers as bin issues cause added stresses

Sandra Andrews overflowing garden waste bin which has not been emptied for three weeks. Picture: DAN

Sandra Andrews overflowing garden waste bin which has not been emptied for three weeks. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

A Letchworth couple in poor health have been left distressed and angry waiting for their brown bin to be collected – with it already a week on since it was due to be emptied.

Sandy Andrews and her husband Richard say they have exhausted every line of communication with North Herts District Council, as the fortnightly service to collect garden waste which they pay £40 for annually has not been carried out by new contractor Urbaser.

Sandy, who lives with her husband in Burley, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November last year and is currently going through chemotherapy after having an operation.

She told the Comet: “I have got cancer and my husband has got ongoing health problems, so we can’t just go to the tip when we want to sort out their mess.

“It’s been awful, and is giving us stress we don’t need considering what we have got to deal with. This should be the least of our problems. They can’t even tell us when it will be collected. It stinks to high heaven, something has got to be done.

“I’ve now got three weeks’ worth of rubbish in my bin. It’s really stressing me and my husband out – stress we don’t need. My husband is in and out of hospital because of chest problems. We’ve got so much going on.”

The brown bin, which is filled to the brim with grass cuttings, was not collected when it should have been last Thursday, while the general waste and recycling bins were emptied as usual.

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Sandy feels that waste collectors are unaware of who has opted-in to the discretional service, which is why the bins have not been collected.

“It was fine up until you had to start paying. It seems to me that they don’t know who has paid and who hasn’t,” the 52-year-old added.

“I rang the bin line and it just rang through, so I phoned the council and the number I had didn’t work, so I tried the customer services line and it just rang and rang and rang.

“Will the council come and wash my bin for me? Because now it reeks. If I was in good health I would wheel that bin to the council office and leave it there.”

Councillor Michael Weeks, executive member for waste and recycling at NHDC, has said the issues in some areas of North Herts are partly due to data errors in the IT system, and partly because collection crews are yet to learn the new collection routes.

Sandy added: “When you’ve got health problems you just want answers and we’re not getting them.

“It would help if they would communicate with their customers, because they’re quick enough to take our money.”