Northampton residents grill borough council after rotting food left in bins for three weeks

No apology has been issued from NBC councillor
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Frustrated residents are fed-up with a lack of communication from Northampton Borough Council over missed food waste collections.

Council chiefs and contractors Veolia say Covid-19 is leading to staff shortages which means "occasional" rounds have "periodically been cancelled."

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But areas of Abington and Kingsley were told to hold on to their rotting food for three weeks until yesterday (Monday) after back-to-back green bin collections were missed.

Veolia say serevices are being impacted by staff having to shield or self-isolateVeolia say serevices are being impacted by staff having to shield or self-isolate
Veolia say serevices are being impacted by staff having to shield or self-isolate

A week ago, householders in Duston and Upton were alerted mid-morning by a council tweet that weekly collections could be "delayed" with the advise to take food waste back in until the following week.

A 10am tweet from the council today (Tuesday) warned: "Due to a temporary reduction in staff, food waste in Abington, Eastfield, Headlands, Park, Phippsville, Riverside and Westone may not be collected today."

Neither the council or Veoila have said how many staff have been affected nor how many householders impacted.

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And one resident who contacted this newspaper said: "I sympathise with the problems and appreciate the job collectors have done all through the pandemic.

"But if a decision is made to drop a collection, it should not be the same route on consecutive weeks.

"This is the second time we've had collections missed two weeks in a row.

"There's been no apology or advance warning. A message to take bins back in and present them again the following week was posted on the council's website on Monday but too late to put the waste in the black bin instead.

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"This means rotting food will be in these bins for three weeks and the first time that happened, last summer, it caused unpleasant smells and attracted swarms of flies."

The number of positive tests across Northamptonshire has fallen from over 5,000 a week in early January to around 1,500. But NBC and Veolia say staff shielding or self-isolating is still impacting services.

Councillor Mike Hallam, NBC cabinet member for environment, said: “We have managed to maintain the vast majority of waste collection services during the current lockdown.

"With staff shielding or isolating in line with Government guidelines we must make the best use of our workforce capacity and this periodically means the occasional food collection round has been missed. Residents impacted are encouraged to take their food caddies back in and present them again the following week for collection.

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“I would like to thank everyone for their continued support and express special thanks to Veolia's waste and recycling and street cleansing teams for their hard work and dedication in providing these essential services that help protect communities and public health during these unprecedented times."

A statement from Veolia said: "We are working closely with our partner Northampton Borough Council to maintain essential services such as recycling and waste collections, but there have on occasions been disruptions to the weekly food waste collections due to some staff shielding or being required to self isolate in line with Government guidelines."