Chaos as council send out 100,000 letters to residents with wrong information on bin collections

Changes to the routes and days of collection have been miscommunicated.
Changes to the routes and days of collection have been miscommunicated.
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ALMOST 100,000 households across the Capital have been sent letters by the council giving wrong information on bin collections ahead of a major shake-up of pick-up days.

From next week, all kerbside collections take place between Tuesday and Friday, 6am-5pm, which means changes to routes and collection days.

Households which face a long gap between collections during the switchover are getting an extra pick-up over the next two weekends.

But the council said a data error meant 95,124 properties had been given the wrong information about it.

Some 52,149 were not told about an additional collection they are due; 39,440 were incorrectly told about an additional collection where there isn’t one; and 3,535 were given incorrect information about the bin type that’s due a collection.

Now the council is writing to all those affected with the correct information.

The embarrassing blunder comes after a series of problems with the introduction of the £25 a year charge for collection of garden waste, which also starts next week.

Labour backbencher Scott Arthur claimed the latest blunder was a costly mistake. He said: “The regrettable introduction of charging for garden waste and the move to restrict waste collection to four days per week has clearly put huge demands on council officers.

“Nonetheless, mailing out almost 100,000 letters with errors is a costly mistake and will cause further reputational damage.”

“It is becoming increasingly clear to me that major changes to the waste system should be robustly piloted if we are to avoid some of the problems we have witnessed over the past six months.”

Tory councillor Jason Rust said the situation appeared “completely chaotic” and did not bode well for the roll-out of the new system. He said: “If the council can’t get the information it is sending out right, how do they expect residents to keep up with what’s happening?”

The council says the move to four-day bin collections will save £500,000, end the need for evening collections and have less impact on Monday public holidays.

Environment convener Lesley Macinnes said she realised the letters with incorrect information may have caused some confusion among residents and she apologised for any inconvenience caused. The cost of reissuing letters had been £28,000.

Cllr Macinnes said: “Preparations for this change, which affects more than 175,000 households, have been extremely complex and we have endeavoured to keep residents up to date throughout the process. By organising additional bin collections we aim to mitigate any disruption resulting from calendar changes and I can assure anyone who has been wrongly advised that they will receive the correct information in the coming days.”

The council said in addition to sending the wrong information on extra collections, a “small percentage” of properties which had signed up for the new garden waste service had received information meant for residents who had not registered for the service. It said it was contacting all those affected to ensure they received permits and calendars ahead of the new service starting.