EDINBURGH council is using an army of private workers to help clear thousands of un-emptied bins – after its controversial move to fortnightly collections.
Temporary workers, from recruitment agency Blue Arrow, have been drafted in to help clean up the backlog of rubbish that has appeared across the capital since the council decided to scale back its once-a-week bin collections earlier this month.
Green wheelie bins overflowing with rubbish have become visible across much of Scotland’s second biggest city, with complaints to the council flooding in from disgruntled residents in Murrayfield, Fairmilehead and South Queensferry.
Residents of Leith Links Colonies recently complained they had waited four weeks between uplifts.
Tory councillor Jeremy Balfour, who represents the Murrayfield area, one of the worst hit areas, labelled the new scheme a “failure”.
He said: “Lesley Hinds offered personal assurances during the full council meeting last week that the backlog would be cleared by Sunday night but I’ve had calls from numerous residents complaining about unemptied bins.
“Clearly the administration cannot get to grips with the new scheme. There has been a clear lack of leadership and a failure to deliver on their promises. The people of Edinburgh deserve an apology.”
He also said the council should have privatised some services through the Alternative Business Model (ABM), which would have affected refuse collection, street cleaning and ground maintenance, when it “had the chance”.
Cllr Balfour added: “We are now in the situation where we are having to pay a private firm to do the work at greater cost.”
Reports have also been made of street cleaners being deployed to clear up the mess left following bin collections.
One Edinburgh resident, Graham Stewart, 49, said he was “disgusted” to find waste strewn around his apartment block at Loaning Mills, Restalrig, yesterday.
He said: “At first I was glad they were lifting our communal bins but then they began picking up the side waste – rubbish was falling out everywhere. Instead of picking it up they just jumped in the truck and drove off.”
The fortnightly bin collections were launched by Edinburgh Council in a bid to force residents to reduce the amount of rubbish being sent to landfill.
The council said it was working to clear the backlog of rubbish.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment convener, said: “Staff are working hard to clear this backlog as quickly as possible and we have brought in additional resources to help.
“These changes are necessary to manage the city’s waste collection more effectively and I would like to thank residents for their patience.”
This is the latest in a series of blunders that have affected the council’s new bin scheme.
Last week it was revealed that bin men in the capital had been ordered to put black refuse sacks back in wheelie bins rather than take them away – with residents who persistently dump extra rubbish to be fined £50.
It was also revealed that union leaders told bin men they shouldn’t pick up kerbside black refuse sacks from the streets of Edinburgh for “health and safety” reasons.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, environment convener, said: “As part of implementing these major changes we put plans in place several months ago to bring in additional staff and vehicles, if needed, to help clear the initial backlog. We will continue to monitor the situation and if more resources are needed we will act to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.”