Tens of thousands of bins uncollected as Fife crews struggle to keep service going

Tens of thousands of bins have gone un-collected in parts of Fife as the local authority service battles with a number of major issues.
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Fife Council gave the update in a report to the full council yesterday.

More than 51,000 bin collections have been missed this year as crews battle to complete their rounds.

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Councillor Jan Wincott, environment convener, said the figures ranged from 500 left uncollected to 22,000 - and while those numbers were small when placed against the five million bins collected in the same period, she accepted the situation wasn’t good enough for the communities affected.

Picture Michael GillenPicture Michael Gillen
Picture Michael Gillen

She told councillors: “We have made it clear to officers we want a short term plan to mitigate some of the impacts.

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“There is no magic wand, but we need to mitigate the problems.

We need long term plan to ensure bin collections are sustainable. It is one of our essential services.”

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The problems have been blamed on several factors, including a national shortage of HGV drivers, staff sickness of up to 30% and a fleet of vehicles needing more repairs as they get older.

She added: “This isn’t a Fife issue - it is affecting every local authority in Scotland.

“It is an extremely unfortunate situation.

“The national shortage of HGV drivers makes it hard to recruit and retain staff, and agency staff are not available.

“High sickness levels of 20-30% are crippling the service and we cannot arrange cover at short notice

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”Our fleet is also ageing, there is an issue getting parts, and waiting time for new vehicles is six to nine months.

“We have had 13 on order from the start of year and hope to have them by end of the year.

“This will alleviate the situation, and we have to support staff doing the best job in difficult circumstances.