Exeter City Council has announced that it is doing everything practicable to clear a backlog of refuse and recycling collections caused by the pre-Christmas snow and ice.
The council has drafted in extra crews and vehicles to clear the backlog and has assured the public that all black (household waste) collections that were cancelled before Christmas will be carried out by the middle of next week.
Cllr Rob Hannaford, Lead Councillor for Environment and Leisure, said: “We are doing everything that is practicable to catch up. But let’s not forget that these were exceptional circumstances – the coldest December for over 100 years and the most snow for nearly 50 years – and Exeter is not the only authority in Devon and the whole of the country that is playing catch-up!
“Before Christmas we had to put safety first. Many roads were snowbound and we could not risk putting 26-ton trucks on them. Two of our workers broke bones slipping on the ice and we had to consider the risk not only to them but to the public.
“We could not collect on any of the Bank Holidays because the waste transfer stations that we use were not open and it is illegal to store refuse in our trucks overnight. Before Christmas we advised those that were effected by cancellations to take back their bins and bags and wait for the next scheduled collection. Some of the build-up of waste bags in side-alleys in Polsloe has been caused by people not heeding this information, which was widely publicised on our website and in the local media.”
The council will look to clear all collections that were cancelled because of the snow by the middle of next week. In the meantime it will be talking to Devon County Council to see if they can change the planning and other permissions regarding opening hours of its waste transfer stations in emergency situations.
The council is also looking at how it can further enhance how it communicates to its residents any changes to refuse collections in such exceptional circumstances. The council will also build upon work done with Exeter University on communicating refuse and recyling arrangements to the student population and will be taking enforcement action in areas where there are chronic problems with waste being presented at the wrong time, such as in Exeter’s back alleys.