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Uttlesford’s bin collection service disrupted again as council deals with staff sickness

Households across Uttlesford have once again been left waiting for bin collections as the service suffers more disruption this week.

Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has apologised for a series of delays to the recycling and household waste collections owing to “operational challenges”, including staff sickness.

It follows the bin collection fiasco throughout January and February when crews were grounded because the authority had failed to renew its operator’s licence, which was then subsequently revoked.

Rubbish piled up during January and February after Uttlesford District Council had its operators' licence revoked.
Rubbish piled up during January and February after Uttlesford District Council had its operators' licence revoked.

Residents were left for weeks with rubbish piling up until an interim licence was granted in early February and help was drafted in from neighbouring Braintree District Council and other agencies to help clear the backlog. The findings of an internal review are due at the next full council meeting on April 28.

Deputy leader of the council Cllr Neil Hargreaves (Newport, Residents for Uttlesford) posted an “update and explanation” on his village Facebook page, Newport Newsline, with details of the affected areas, which include parts of Stansted, Little Bardfield, Littlebury, Great Chesterford, areas of Woodlands Park in Dunmow, Leaden Roding and the Hallingburys.

But residents were left feeling confused about what bins to leave out and when. Said one commentator: “At this point I literally have no idea what bin to even put out”, while another added: “Love playing the bin-go game”.

Another contributor said: “Doctor Johnson once described a second marriage as ‘The triumph of hope over experience’. It is with that same sense that I am about to put the bins out.”

A spokesperson for UDC told theIndie on Tuesday afternoon it was working to catch up with missed collections.

“We had a number of staff off sick last week which impacted on the waste collection service. We do have contingency plans in place for situations such as this, including the use of agency staff, and managed to complete more than 90% of domestic non-recycling collections, as well as operate the garden waste and trade waste collection services as normal.

“We had a crew out at the weekend and are aiming to catch up on all outstanding non-recycling collections by tomorrow morning (Wednesday April 10). We are in the process of recruiting more drivers and adding an extra vehicle to the rounds which will help to alleviate some pressures on the service moving forward.”

Stansted parish councillor Lois Prior believed the Cawkwell Close and Bentfield Green areas were affected by the delays.

“The binmen told me that lots of them were off sick. There doesn't seem to be any management planning for these scenarios and I've been told the staff are sick of management attitude rather than anything else!

“Cllr Hargreaves' job is to say 'There's nothing to see here', but bin collection is the number one service we all use – if they can't get that right, how can we trust them to get anything else right?”

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