Council promises bin collection overhaul in Brighton and Hove

Overflowing bin in Kemp Town
Overflowing bin in Kemp Town

Bin rounds are to be changed in the coming year after a rise in the number of missed rubbish collections.

The rate of missed rubbish and recycling collections jumped last year compared with the year before, according to a report to councillors.

It said that the rate of missed rubbish collections more than doubled to 171 per 100,000 in the year to the end of March from 79 per 100,000 in 2017-18. The target was a maximum of 75.

And the rate of missed recycling collections went up to 337 per 100,000 in the past year from 175 the year before. The target was a maximum of 100.

A series of reviews and proposals for change at Brighton and Hove City Council’s rubbish, recycling and street cleaning division Cityclean come as the threat of a strike remains.

Almost nine out of ten Brighton and Hove refuse workers voted for strike action in June after a breakdown in relations between their union, the GMB, and the council’s senior leadership team.

The performance report – to the council’s policy, resources and growth committee – said: “There has been a significant increase in the number of missed collections.

“This includes difficulty in retaining and recruiting drivers, access issues to certain areas of the city due to increased density of parking in some areas where there are no controlled parking zones, fleet which is too large to access some streets (and) lack of management and operative capacity.

“In addition to this there has been a change to the way that data on missed collections is captured, having made it easier for residents to report when collections are missed. This provides a more accurate reflection of the service.

“Results show a continuing improvement following a spike in missed collections figures earlier in the year.

“The results for recycling are worse than refuse because missed refuse is prioritised over recycling due to the greater environmental risks of uncollected refuse.

“Plus, recycling trucks are larger than refuse trucks, meaning they suffer more from narrow access.

“The City Environment Modernisation Programme is developing a sustainable future for the service in the context of reducing council budgets, increases in customer demand and an expanding service offer.”

The rate of missed rubbish collections peaked in April to June last year and the rate of missed recycling collections reached its highest level in July to September. Both have since improved.

The amount of household waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting was 28.9 per cent in 2018-19 – the highest annual level in the past decade and up from 28.6 per cent in 2017-18.

The amount reached 30.4 per cent from April to June last year – and the council hopes that the introduction of more wheelie bins will help the total towards the current 37.7 per cent target.

The proportion of streets inspected which were found to have widespread or heavy levels of litter was 3.2 per cent last year.

This was within the four per cent target set by the council and an improvement on 2017-18.

The performance report is due to be presented to the council’s policy, resources and growth committee on Thursday (July 11) at Hove Town Hall. The meeting is scheduled to start at 4pm and should be open to the public.