“They treat us like the garbage they’re supposed to pick up!”
Growing reports from the boroughs of the South London Waste Partnership suggest that the council’s waste service contractors are creaking under the pressure. By STEVEN DOWNES
Complaints about the household waste service provided by the Veolia municipal companies accumulate at the height of the heaps of waste left around the borough.
And it’s not just in Croydon that we see the poor levels of service.
Residents of other SLWP boroughs – the South London Waste Partnership – including Sutton and Merton, also locked in long-term multi-million pound deals with Veolia, have experienced repeated failures that have left their streets strewn with garbage and suffering. rat and maggot infestations.
From missed trash pickups to paid green waste pickups that never take place, to piles of tips that fester for weeks on end, residents are increasingly angry at the lack of service they receive in return. for their housing tax.
The condition of Croydon’s parks and green spaces – under a different contract – has become a growing concern, with volunteer work teams of taxpaying residents spending their weekends picking up litter left behind by others, in l apparent absence of any advice. contractors to perform routine service.
As much of the nation went into lockdown in 2020, garbage cans and their trucks continued to roam the streets of the borough, despite the impact of covid-19 on the workforce. . But as 2021 approaches, there has been a noticeable drop in the services provided, with Veolia recently blaming the shortage of heavy truck drivers for their problems.
Complain to the board? Fisher’s Folly phone lines rarely receive a response, and the council has long tried to get residents to log missed trash pickups online, or by using Croydon’s notoriously CrapApp. To date, the CrapApp has no category for reporting missed trash collections (it reduces the count of missed collections, thus avoiding any tense meeting with Veolia due to their poor service).
Inside Croydon also learned that for at least a month over the summer, no incoming reports of tips or missed trash collection were being recorded or forwarded to Veolia because the council’s waste inbox was not verified . This, apparently, was due to staff shortages following the numerous layoffs of the council made in the wake of the district’s bankruptcy.
Even raising the issue with neighborhood councilors has become futile. Councilors – Labor and Conservative alike – quietly complain that their appeals to council representatives seldom receive a response.
Pressure on the poorly monitored system led to further reports that residents’ carefully sorted recycling was sent straight to the Beddington incinerator, while in hot summer weather missed food waste collections saw maggots and vermin infestations appear at the gates of Croydon. residents.
A reader, who lives in Shirley, said Inside Croydon of their frustrating attempts to deal with Veolia: “This company has total contempt for its customers. The management cannot be reached … I received an email from them today saying that the bins were not emptied because the recycling was mixed. The damn trash cans are for “Mixed recycling”.
“I was starting to think that maybe it was I who thought this company… was the most incompetent company I had ever had the misfortune to deal with. However, today I checked on Trustpilot and it looks like all over the UK this company treats its customers with disgraceful service.
“I live in a 12 apartment building above commercial space in Shirley. For the past six weeks, I have tried unsuccessfully to empty our recycling bins.
“In the first half of 2020, general and recycling collections were sporadic and combined with an insufficient number of bins, this caused a significant rat problem on the property. Croydon council ended up footing the bill for a pest control contract to fix the problem.
“We were eventually given four additional general bins and the recycling bins were replaced with four ‘mixed’ bins.
“Once we received the additional bins, the collections reverted to a more regular collection with only the occasional failure to empty.
“But this year, recycling collections have become infrequent, hence the current situation where they have not been emptied for six weeks.
“If we go online to report the missed collection, the report indicates that Veolia could not empty because the recycling is ‘mixed’. Veolia provided us with “mixed recycling” bins.
“It’s either that or ‘the undisclosed trash cans’, even though the trash cans have been in the same area outside the apartments for years.
“I made numerous calls to Croydon Council, raised missed online reports, a formal complaint (still no response) and emailed the three local councilors, none of whom have had the courtesy to respond, even just acknowledging receipt of the email.
“I managed to speak to someone on the board who confirmed that various emails had been sent to Veolia asking for this issue to be fixed, but they are not resolved. The staff of the town hall seem unable to speak directly to anyone at Veolia by phone, everything must be done by email.
“I myself tried to phone Veolia and was told that as a ‘resident’ they would not speak to me and that I should phone Croydon City Council.
“On this basis, these incompetent people at Veolia can ignore the problem and our trash cans will never be emptied. It appears that Veolia has a contract where they govern themselves without any consideration for local residents.
“They treat us like the garbage they’re supposed to pick up!”
“Like most other responsible boroughs, the people of Croydon are actively encouraged to recycle, but what good is it if the bins aren’t emptied and they’re causing the problems we’ve had?”
“Last week, the agent who manages the owner’s apartments called the town hall. They agreed to have the bins emptied urgently and that a “waste service complaints officer” would be in touch in due course to find out how recycling would be handled in the future.
“A week later, and nothing happened. This was deemed “urgent”.
“The excess garbage bags keep piling up. Some are torn by foxes, the contents spilling onto the lids of the trash cans, which are now covered in loads of maggots.
It’s in Shirley.
In Addiscombe, too, housing taxpayers also wonder why they pay their housing tax.
As one resident wrote to Inside Croydon, “The bins have not been collected recently in the Addiscombe region, which causes us environmental problems.
“The sidewalks of Davidson Road are full of garbage that is not being picked up.
It is a very unpleasant situation and a risk for the citizens of this community.
Similar reports have also been received from affected residents and residents’ associations in Sutton and Merton. A fly spike on Mitcham Common, first reported in August, only gained momentum over the next four weeks as others added their trash to the festering pile, with no signs of ‘a Veolia cleaning team.
The experience of the Shirley resident is becoming more and more common. In Sutton, another resident reports that uncollected recycling, stacked near a door to their apartment, has now become an access hazard for their wheelchair-bound neighbor.
“I reported this to council using the online portal and contacted my neighborhood councilors directly (only one of whom even recognized my email), but nothing has been done yet.
“We wonder what my housing tax is for.
“It is now a danger to the health of the environment and it attracts pests. My neighbor relies on a wheelchair to get around and fears that having to drive in disorder will puncture her tires and leave her confined to the house.
The experience is not new: it all happened when Veolia took over the contract in Sutton and for the first time inflicted Binmageddon on this district.
But as multiple missed collections pile up in this part of south London, with risks to vermin and health, questions arise as to when elected officials – often overlooked by professional council staff – will decide that Veolia’s service is not suited to the objective? Or why is it that the top executives of the board seem so ready to let Veolia on their poor performance?
Read more: Questions raised over new £ 21million deal with Veolia
Read more: Veolia employee dies in heat during trash bin tour in Thornton Heath
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