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Bin firm Canenco takes six months to clear fly-tipped fridge and freezer in Canterbury


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A council's waste collection firm took six months to remove a fly-tipped fridge and freezer prompting residents to accuse them of lying.

Liberal Democrat Mike Sole told colleagues about his battle to get Canenco to collect the dumped appliances in Pond Lane, Womenswold.

Cllr Mike Sole
Cllr Mike Sole

They were first discovered in May and continued to sit beside the road on the outskirts of Canterbury despite numerous assurances from the firm that the rubbish had been collected.

Cllr Sole told the community committee meeting: “One resident reported some fly-tipping on May 24 - they were told on June 7 it had been collected. It hadn’t been.

“It was reported again in July, not collected. It was reported again in August, not collected.

“I kept getting messages saying ‘yes, it’s been picked up’, but no, there was a fridge and a freezer still there when I went there. It was still there throughout September. In October and November, several times Canenco had come back and not only told the resident online, but also told city council staff it had been collected.

“What residents say to me is ‘we are fed up being lied to’ because that’s how they feel. They are being told stuff is being collected, and it isn’t.”

The fridge and freezer had been dumped on the outskirts of Canterbury
The fridge and freezer had been dumped on the outskirts of Canterbury

Herne and Broomfield councillor Anne Dekker (Con) added that it took “48 emails” for “all sorts of” waste to be cleared by the company from a “rather beautiful area” in her ward.

The revelations prompted Canenco director David Maidman to vow to investigate the issue, as he noted: “I’m slightly frustrated with the fly-tipping; that does not sound right.”

Members were discussing the firm’s performance since it took over the waste collection service from Serco in February, as figures revealed crews had missed more than 13,000 bins between March and September.

A city council-published six-month review blamed Covid, the fuel shortage and data issues for the scourge – but insisted its performance has been “no worse than would have been experienced by any other contractor” during the pandemic.

Despite this, Cllr Sole stated the service “is not getting better”.

One of the fly-tipped appliances
One of the fly-tipped appliances

“That’s the experience of residents in my ward,” the Nailbourne representative noted.

“I went away for a few days with my wife last week, and she said to me on the Friday evening ‘will you get off your phone?’

“I said ‘no, I’m dealing with more bins that’ve been missed’. That’s what I do every Friday – I might as well put it in my diary.

“Nailbourne Close in Kingston – it’s got about eight homes and is easy to get to – they had their recycling missed, reported it and the next day Canenco came back to collect it.

“Two weeks later, the same thing happened again, two weeks after that, the same thing happened again, and two weeks later, the same thing happened again. This is happening now.”

Labour’s Chris Cornell also said that a resident in his Whitstable ward had just had her bins missed for the 11th consecutive time, maintaining “that’s 22 weeks of poor service”.

Mr Maidman conceded “there is room for improvement” at Canenco, amid “some frustration” among staff over the some of the repeat misses.

He insisted the company is taking strides forward and is “seeing evidence that the missed collections continue to drop”.

“It hasn’t been a great start in certain areas – there’s an awful lot that has gone wrong,” he continued.

“In my 20 years of waste experience, this is far better than a lot of the contract mobilisations I have been involved in, and we have experienced in nine months what an average contract will go through in its life.

“They’re not excuses – these are genuine things that have impacted us on a day-to-day basis. We will resolve it and get it sorted.”

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