Elmbridge Borough Council has blamed contractor Amey for a series of missed household collections which has left residents frustrated.
Elmbridge rolled out a new service contract with Joint Waste Solutions (JWS) – a partnership of four local authorities and Amey – at the beginning of June.
But a backlog of missed bin collections has led to the council calling the situation “unacceptable”, and Amey has had to put out additional crews. Residents have also complained that they were unable to log missed collections on the council’s website.
JWS was set up to provide services to Elmbridge, Surrey Heath, Mole Valley and Woking. It is backed by Surrey County Council and the Surrey Waste Partnership, and is expected to save around £2.5m a year.
The contract covers household waste collection, recycling, chargeable garden waste, recycling banks, clinical waste and street cleaning. Elmbridge is the first authority to roll out the service, with others scheduled to follow later this year.
A new IT system will be introduced in the autumn to govern collections.
Council leader Stuart Selleck said: “The situation with waste collection in Elmbridge last week and this week has been unacceptable, and I apologise to our residents for the annoyance and inconvenience this is causing.
“Our new contractor, Amey, is not yet providing the service we demand, but we are working with them to ensure the situation is resolved as soon as possible.
“While Amey’s performance is improving and a high percentage of refuse and recycling is being collected on the correct day, there is an issue with food waste collections and clearing the backlog is a priority for them and for us.”
A spokesperson for Amey said: ”We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to Elmbridge residents and are working closely with the council to address any outstanding issues.
“We have made a number of significant changes to the way waste services are delivered in Elmbridge. These changes, which were introduced just two weeks ago and include reorganised routes for refuse and recycling, as well as food and garden waste, take time to bed in.
”We are confident the service will continue to improve as the new routes and ways of working become established. We are bringing in additional resources daily to back up our regular routes while they become established.”
A JWS spokesperson told MRW on 15 June there would be no delay in rolling out the new contract to the remaining partner authorities.
He added: “We had some understandable teething problems during the mobilisation of the new joint collection contract in Elmbridge last week and have been working with Amey to improve this.
“Additional collection crews have been brought in by Amey, and staff on the ground are working very hard to adapt to the new rounds and ways of working.
“We are now at 98% capture for refuse and 97% for recycling with a catch-up crew going back to missed roads. Food waste has been a bigger challenge as it is now being collected separately and is taking longer than anticipated to bed in. But it’s improving every day and we have an additional catch up crew dedicated to food waste collection.
“We’re confident that the service will continue to improve every day as the new rounds and ways of working become established.”