THE CITY council has been forced to apologise and extend registration for its controversial garden waste charge after a computer system failure meant residents were unable to sign up on the final day.
Following the technical freeze between 7pm and midnight on Sunday, registration has now been extended until 5pm on Tuesday.
The council said the problems were caused by a “technical fault which affected logging in to Myscotgov account services” on the authority’s website, and has apologised to residents.
Opponents said the registration system had “failed spectacularly” as the council’s official social media accounts pleaded with residents to register by emailing their names and addresses on Monday, a day after the sign-up window was set to close.
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Cllr Lesley Macinnes, Environment Convener, said: “We saw a surge of people registering for garden waste collections over the weekend.
“While the majority of these registrations went smoothly, unfortunately there was a technical issue with our website on Sunday evening and we apologise to anyone who might have been affected by this.
“We have resolved the matter and are extending the deadline to 5pm tomorrow [Tues 24 July].
“While these final registrations are being processed, our teams are hard at work to put service delivery plans such as route maps and calendars in place.”
Only 52,993 of the 123,804 eligible households across the city signed up to the scheme as of Monday - with a total of 58,020 bins requested.
The registration window will also re-open again during the year, but those signing up late will still be liable for the full £25 charge per bin up until October 2019.
Chairman of the Conservative group, Cllr Jason Rust, said: “If the council provides a deadline, one expects the council to ensure that appropriate systems are in place and it is clearly necessary to extend this deadline to deal with the implementation failures.
“When I questioned the council in March, we were informed that there would only be one opt in period. Now we are told there will be other opportunities or intervals during the year, no doubt caused by the shambolic implementation to date right up to the final hours.
“There will be little confidence in the operation of this new scheme when the processes have failed so spectacularly to date.”
Green councillors, who also oppose the garden waste charge, have called on the SNP-Labour administration to reconsider going ahead with the policy as planned.
Cllr Gavin Corbett said: “In the Green budget I proposed earlier this year, I rejected brown bin charging precisely because I thought it would be chaotic for a service that already struggles at times with basic pick-ups. It also runs the risk of garden waste ending up in landfill or as fly-tipping.
“So it is not surprising, although disappointing, to see all the problems coming up as the charge is introduced.
“The SNP and Labour councillors who supported it need to take a long hard look at whether the proposals go ahead as planned and need to be prepared to back away or make significant changes if the current problems continue.”