Waste collection review in York

Un-emptied bins in Foxwood 2012
Against the background of chronic unreliability on refuse collections in the City, it was hoped that a long outstanding review would offer some hope of improvement.

The review report has now been published (click).

The report starts by saying “Decisions about waste collection methodology impact upon the specification of replacement waste vehicles, the replacement of which is imperative to the sustainability of the service”

In truth, new vehicles should have been purchased months ago. They weren’t and as a result breakdown are a major cause of the decline in reliability standards. The report offers little hope of early, decisive action.

The report concludes that separate food waste collection is not necessary. This is because food waste forms part of the anaerobic digestion process at the Allerton processing site. It is part of a process which results in power being generated from waste.

Similar arguments are advanced against the mixed collection of recyclables.

The report talks about a further review of recycling bring banks “to stop collecting the same materials as door step collection, but focus on materials not collected at the door step” The authors seems to be oblivious to the fact that many residents are forced to use the bring banks because of lack of capacity in the doorstep service.

“The current recycling arrangements are that Yorwaste process the recylclates at the Harewood Whin Material Recycling Facility and sell the products to market. The current gross cost of recycling is £725k however this is offset by the recyclate sales that total c£600k”.

The report fails to identify the “lead in time” for the purchase of new vehicles. There are no milestones.  It lacks any analysis of the number of missed bin collections or their causes. It fails to say when sustained improvement could be expected.

Altogether it amounts a bit of public posturing with no apology to the taxpayers who are being inconvenienced each day by vehicle breakdowns and trucks reaching their capacity limits.

Today’s failure report reveals that green waste wasn’t collected from part of the Heworth area because of inadequate “vehicle capacity”

Daily reports on missed bin collections can be found via this link click

More missed bins

Council needs to “come clean” about the extent of its resourcing problems

Another day and another raft of missed bin collections.

Mostly the failures are down to inadequate staffing, unreliable vehicles and full lorries.

Yet the Council has so far failed to say when replacement vehicles will arrive in the city.

…and there is a growing suspicion that other services are being depleted in a desperate attempt to plug the gaps in the waste collection service. One estate still has litter strewn around from collections which took place weeks ago.

No post recycling litter pick today (or for some time)
Many litter bins are overflowing

Latest missed bin collections in York

Its mainly Haxby that missed out on recycling collections today (inadequate vehicle capacity). Some might feel that putting on an additional or larger vehicle on the round would be the obvious solution to this long standing issue. The collections will be rescheduled for Monday. This also applies to missed garden waste in Pinfold Court and recycling in Bishopdale Way

Outstanding household waste collections will take place in Gower Road tomorrow (Saturday)

Rather awkwardly the Council has started delivery of their “Our City” newspaper. The, £10,000 a time rag, also includes a pull out supplement detailing the merits of the Council’s recycling processes.

Residents will not find any performance data indicating the number of recycling collections that the Council misses nor the timetable for remedying issues with driver recruitment, staff vacancies, unreliable vehicles or truck capacity.

No doubt some residents in Haxby will immediately hurl the leaflets into the recycling box – before remembering that it won’t now be collected for at least 3 days!

Missed green bin emptying in Westfield today

Collections were missed in the Thoresby Road part of Westfield Ward today. A vehicle fault was blamed

Council officials have now written to concerned Councillors about the chronic unreliability of the bin emptying service. It has gone in 3 short years from being one of the most praised public services in the city to one of the most criticised.

Pressures on the service have contributed to an increase in litter drift in many areas with post round tidy up sometimes being missed out.

Officials say the problems are mainly caused by “an ageing fleet (directly linked to breakdowns), driver shortages and staff sickness”

“When the service is under pressure, we prioritise household waste collections followed by recycling and then garden waste”

“We are in the process of a wholescale fleet replacement. In the 10 years since the last vehicles were purchased the city has expanded so we need to account for this, however York is a historical city which is both beautiful and incredibly difficult to service in some areas when it comes to waste collection. I want to ensure that the next fleet of vehicles are capable of serving all areas of the city in the safest possible way. Health and safety for staff and residents is top of our agenda”.

“Staffing the service will continue to be a challenge, particularly when it comes to HGV drivers. This is a national problem and experienced by our surrounding Council areas. However, this is also exacerbated in York as we simply don’t have the industries to support this. However, we are investing significantly in developing our own staff through apprenticeship programmes and development opportunities. Working on the frontline in all weather is not a job for the faint hearted. One of the reasons that ‘new’ staff turnover is high is that people underestimate how demanding the job is”.

Unfortunately the service does not seem to have published an improvement programme with milestones. No figures are produced indicating the number of bins that aren’t emptied each day, so it is impossible to test whether the claimed “improvement trajectory” is a reality.

Critically officials are staying tight lipping about when new vehicles are expected in the City or indeed if they have even been ordered.

Many will be surprised that adequate spare resources did not form part of the original vehicle leasing deal.

In other parts of the world more automation has been tried with mixed results

Die Horibilis

Been a horrible day for the Council with many more missed bin collections.

Recycling collections were missed in Haxby, New Earswick, Strensall and Wigginton.

Green waste bins weren’t emptied in Haxby, Wigginton and Strensall. The bins not emptied in Woodthorpe on Tuesday still haven’t been collected.

Household waste wasn’t collected in part of Holgate (blocked access).

Sources inside the Council point to continuing difficulties in recruiting staff including drivers. There has still not been any statement from the Council leadership about this issue or why replacement vehicles haven’t been introduced into the fleet.

Missed bin collections Wednesday

Recycling was not collected in part of Dringhouses today (“vehicle capacity issue”) and garden waste wasn’t collected from Muncaster (“vehicle breakdown”).

The Council also hasn’t caught up with delayed bin emptying from earlier in the week in Osbaldwick and Woodthorpe

It appears that the Council hasn’t yet placed an order for new vehicles to replace its chronically unreliable existing fleet.

According to a notice published today, a decision on a new “waste collection methodology” won’t be taken until 24th October. Even then it is likely to be several months before the Council actually joins the year long queue for new vehicles.

While refinements to waste management arrangements are needed if we are to recycle more, a greater sense of urgency from the Council leadership, in addressing current unreliability issues, is an essential first step.

Missed bin collections in York – backlog growing

The missed bins from yesterday and due for collection in Haxby, Huntington, Fulford and and Bishopthorpe today weren’t collected. This is put down to continuing staffing and vehicle reliability issues.

Skelton was also missed today

The Council says that it will try to empty all outstanding waste and garden bins tomorrow (Saturday)

It does increasingly seem that the bin emptying service, which was often regarded in public satisfaction surveys as the most appreciated local service provided by the Council, is now in decline.

Missed bin collections update

Residents tell us the the bins, due for collection in Poppleton last week, have now been emptied.

Meanwhile streets in Earswick, Heworth and Stockton on Forest were missed today.

It remains unclear when the York Council hopes to deal with issues arising out of inadequate vehicle capacity and unreliability.

Latest on missed bin collections

More streets in York have not had their refuse, recycling and garden waste collected today.

Areas affected included Dringhouses (Middlethorpe), Bishopthorpe, Acomb, Chapelfields, Tang Hall and Lockwood Street

Some residents have called for the service to be “outsourced” (privatised).

Until the Council is more candid about the causes of its current problems, then it is difficult to know whether different management arrangements would lead to a more reliable service.