Refuse contractors are still rubbish at doing their job – and that’s official

BEHIND: Waste collections services are under fire

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council [TMBC] and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council [TWBC] handed Urbaser the joint contract to empty the bins for both boroughs, worth around £3million a year from each authority, in March 2019.

In January last year, Urbaser was fined by both TMBC and TWBC over its service, with the Councils telling the waste company ‘the time for excuses and apologies is over’ after missing up to 1,000 collections a day.

The company promised changes with 20 additional trucks and 50 extra workers, although services have not improved.

Now the two local authorities have issued a joint statement explaining to residents that they are still in talks with the waste contractor to resolve poor service issues.

Council leaders Tom Dawlings from TWBC and Nicolas Heslop of TMBC said: “We are very concerned about the issues that some residents are experiencing with the waste collection service and apologise to those who are affected.

“We are in discussions with our contractor, Urbaser, about resolving these problems and delivering the waste collection and recycling service our residents expect.

“Both councils expect Urbaser to meet its contractual obligations in full and we are issuing financial penalties for poor performance where appropriate and in accordance with the terms of the contract.

“We will continue to apply pressure at senior levels at Urbaser to ensure the contract terms are delivered and will consider all options available to achieve that objective.”

It is understood the letter has been sent following concerns raised by residents in Tonbridge, where bin collections are two or three days behind schedule in some areas.

According to Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, there have been 1,451 reports of missed collections in just this month alone.

The situation hasn’t been as bad in Tunbridge Wells, although there were 865 missed collections recorded at the authority last month.

Urbaser was contacted for comment but did not respond.

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