Under-fire Barrow waste collection firm responds to complaints

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Clean-up:Bin men collect overspilling bins and rubbish from the streets of Barrow in the School Street area LEANNE BOLGER
Clean-up:Bin men collect overspilling bins and rubbish from the streets of Barrow in the School Street area LEANNE BOLGER
5 September 2017 7:28PM

THE private company responsible for emptying wheelie bins and cleaning the streets in Barrow, Askam and Dalton has not once breached the terms of its council contract, bosses have told The Mail.

More than 17,000 metres of road across Barrow, Dalton and Askam should be cleaned three times a week; 391 street bins should be emptied every single day and 1,463 metres of public footpaths should be cleared once a week by FCC Environment.

The £2m-a-year contract stipulates exactly what the council expects from FCC on a daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly or bi-annual basis.

On top of providing a weekly household wheelie bin collection to 33,500 homes, a fortnightly kerbside collection for recycling material and a bulky household goods collection, FCC is contracted to carry out street cleaning.

The company is meeting the requirements of the contract fully at this time

It is the perceived reduction of street cleaning which has led many residents to criticise the council and FCC and so The Mail put a series of questions to the company.

In its responses the company says it has fully complied with the terms of the contract.

Details also show that because of residents putting non-recyclable material in their red wheelie bins, around 113 tonnes of recycling has been disposed of as household waste in the last four months alone.

QUESTION: Members of the public questioned if FCC is in fact cleaning and de-littering all the streets/alleys/paths in the frequency stipulated by the contract.

RESPONSE: FCC Environment is committed to keeping the streets of Barrow clean, and as part of its contract cleans the streets in line with an agreed schedule to meet the requirements of the Environmental Protection Act.

The company has confirmed that it is meeting the requirements of the contract fully at this time. We are also in regular contact with the council to review this to ensure we are best using the resources we are committed to in the contract.

We do need to make it clear however that it is not in the remit of the bin crews to pick up any stray waste or rubbish deposited as a result of overflowing bins left with the lids open. It is the responsibility of residents to pick up any litter that they create.

Litter and side-waste (bags of waste left to the side of bins) are a particular problem in Barrow and surrounding areas as they are also a target for seagulls. The council’s Streetcare team regularly monitor the cleanliness of the streets to ensure they meet grades defined in Defra’s guidance.

We are regularly in contact with the council to review this to ensure we are using the best resources we are committed to in the contract. The cage crews provide additional cleansing of heavily contaminated areas at the request of the council.

The heavy contamination is typically due to spillages or side waste being ripped open by birds and animals rather than an accumulation of litter. We are asking residents to help us to keep the town clean. Littering can be avoided by using public bins or taking waste and recycling home for proper disposal.

QUESTION: Why is glass collected separately from the other recycling?

RESPONSE: We proposed to collect glass separately to enable us to reduce contamination as broken glass degrades the quality and acceptability of materials collected for recycling.

Separate collection of glass is common across the country and in Barrow separate collection provides the council with a better value-for-money service by obtaining greater income from the recyclable material. In addition, by putting glass in the box, the amount of windblown litter from collections is reduced, as anything that can be blown about is contained in a lidded bin.

QUESTION: How many contaminated loads (i.e. recycling bins) have been reported to the council since April?

RESPONSE: 113 tonnes rejected up to the end of July - approximately 30 bin wagon loads which represents around 6,000 wheelie bins. Unfortunately, if just one wheelie bin contains contaminated material the entire load has to be rejected and disposed of as household waste.

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George   Stevens , Barrow Tuesday, 05 September, 2017 at 1:35PM
FCC says: "We do need to make it clear however that it is not in the remit of the bin crews to pick up any stray waste or rubbish deposited as a result of overflowing bins left with the lids open. It is the responsibility of residents to pick up any litter that they create." Technically it's the responsibility of the council to pick up such litter, however it came to be there and wherever it is. This is the law. It's on the government website. Yes, of course, residents should take care and not drop or cause litter to be there, but FCC are wrong here. It's the council's responsibility to clear it away. If the FCC contract doesn't say FCC should clear such litter, then the responsibility falls on the council itself. Didn't the writer of this news story think it worthwhile challenging in the story FCC's claim that it's the residents' responsibility?
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