Complaints flood in over new waste collectionBy Laura Herbert
April 04, 2012
Dozens of people have contacted The Wokingham Times to point out errors in the new waste and recycling scheme that was launched across Wokingham on Monday.
Brian Willis, former Conservative mayor of Wokingham town, said: “What a shambles Wokingham Borough Council is in over the new blue bag and green waste collections.
“I tried to contact Wokingham Borough Council on a totally unrelated matter which was to pay garage rent, but the online system would not accept my input data.
“I then tried to contact the relevant department – all lines busy or if you get through you are number 24 on the list. After three attempts so I give up and then resorted to a fax, but still no-one replies.
“Why the council did not set up a temporary line to deal with all waste queries and leave the main number for everyday problems I do not know, but it seems that everything that our council does is ill thought out and finishes up a total disaster.”
Ian Metcalfe, from Earley, said on Monday: “Disappointed at the quality and size of the bags.
“My wife and I have phoned Veolia several times this morning and nobody answers.
“We ended up phoning the council, which took a long time, as everyone was probably doing the same – they took our details and promised to forward them on to Veolia. This doesn’t fill me with any confidence.”
On Twitter, users reported they have still not receive blue bags, while others reported bags breaking under the weight of rubbish.
One Twitter user, of Hurst Park Road, said binmen visited her road on Monday, but drove away without taking her bag of rubbish.
Other users said animals have torn into bags, leaving rubbish strewn around the street.
Ahmad Izadpanah from Woodley said he has been trying to get through to customers services at the council every day for the past month.
Mr Izadpanah, of Sandford Drive, added: “It is totally incompetent of this council that they cannot manage a simple transition.
“Some blue bags have been delivered but they are of the poorest quality. But it is the quality of the people who are managing our day to day lives. The whole issue is a fiasco.”
A woman from Charvil, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It is complete chaos. I’m shocked there hasn't been a trial run.
“We had to put our rubbish out on Sunday night and it wasn’t collected until 3pm on Monday.
“We are paying almost £3,000 council tax and we get nothing.
“I think they should abandon this and bring back SITA. I think they need to be embarrassed.”
She added: “We all want to save the environment but this is not the way to do it.”
In the last month Wokingham Direct has dealt with double the number of enquiries, predominantly about the new waste and recycling scheme. Figures reveal the centre received 31,517 calls and 6,816 emails throughout March, and approximately 16,000 calls and 3,300 emails in February from residents lodging complaints or asking questions.
Sarah Barrow, head of customer services and administration, said: “Over the past couple of weeks we have seen a large increase in the number of calls and emails to Wokingham Direct, primarily relating to the new waste procedure.
“On average we are receiving 2,300 calls and 300 emails per day when normally we would receive around 30 per cent of these figures.
“I’d like to apologise on behalf of Wokingham Borough Council if residents and customers are waiting longer than usual to get through to a customer service advisor. We are doing all we can to deal with these enquiries as quickly as possible.
“I would advise residents to visit www.wokingham.gov.uk/waste-changes if possible to see if the information they require is listed online.
“Alternatively, if residents are calling about missing or incorrect blue bags they should email firstname.lastname@example.org .”