Bin lorries to get sat nav to help avoid missed collections

BIN lorries will be fitted with sat navs to help drivers find their way around the Capital amid soaring complaints over missed collections.
Bin lorry crews are to be given a helping hand. Picture: Ian GeorgesonBin lorry crews are to be given a helping hand. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Bin lorry crews are to be given a helping hand. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The idea is to be tested as part of a raft of measures to stem complaints which have risen from 18,000 to 53,000 in the past year – an average of 1000 a week.

Devices will be fitted to the city council’s entire fleet of 50 bin lorries if the trial is a success, but the full cost of this is not yet known.

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Savings of £7 million have been made since the 2012 modernisation programme began the use of agency workers but “unclear work route plans” have led to overflowing bins.

Waste and cleansing manager Gareth Barwell said the overhaul of the service was needed to deal with historical “bizarre” working practices.

These include a four-day shift pattern with the fifth day paid as overtime, an ageing and inefficient fleet and 30 per cent recycling.

Cleansing chiefs insisted that bin crews do not deliberately ignore full bins and stressed that they may not always be obvious.

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“Bins may belong to an address but are presented at the garage site behind the property that you enter from a different street,” added Mr Barwell.

The council is set to start a satellite navigation technology trial within the next month.

He said that, while bins could be missed once or twice due to a crew’s unfamiliarity with the route, repeated failings were unacceptable.

Most complaints related to the city’s 100,000 tenements while many in the 140,000 houses were more satisfied with the service.

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Mr Barwell said: “I can see why residents sometimes feel that it is falling on deaf ears but there is a lot of work being done and there is an acknowledgement that we have got to make these improvements.”

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city council’s environment convener, said: “All elected members will be well aware how important an issue refuse collection is to their constituents and the council is absolutely committed to delivering the best possible services we can for the people of Edinburgh. We fully appreciate how frustrating missed bin collections can be for residents and we’re working extremely hard to make significant improvements.”