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Bins in Sittingbourne, Sheerness and Lenham left uncollected as new waste contractor Suez introduced for Swale, Maidstone and Ashford

Residents have reported rubbish piling up on the streets just days after a new waste collector has been brought in.

People across Sittingbourne, Sheerness and Lenham have been left with their bins uncollected after a changeover in contractors from Biffa to Suez UK.

Sittingbourne residents have been left without their bins collected
Sittingbourne residents have been left without their bins collected

Last month, households across Swale, Maidstone and Ashford received letters informing them of the changes taking place from Monday, March 25.

In it, they were told that they could no longer have unwanted small electricals, batteries and textiles collected, as well as potential changes in bin collection days.

The £152 million contract between Suez and the Mid-Kent Waste Partnership was agreed in December 2022 and will last for eight years.

But the switch in collectors last week has left residents in Sittingbourne frustrated.

Rachel Light said: “On Thursday they didn't even show up to collect our bins and still haven't shown up. When we logged the complaint it said it was due to parked cars and that they would now not collect until April 11.

Suez UK now collects waste across Swale, Maidstone and Ashford. Picture: Stock
Suez UK now collects waste across Swale, Maidstone and Ashford. Picture: Stock

“We still have rubbish piled up outside our houses – this is an ongoing issue that is just getting worse with the new company. We are being let down by Swale council.”

Another resident said: “The council needs to find a solution, rather than leaving us weeks without a bin collection.

“It's bad enough the rubbish is only collected every two weeks but we are often going four because they say they can't access us.

“The worst bit is the cars that are making it hard for the lorry to get through, don't belong to the residents that are having missed bin collections, as we are much further up the road – something has to change.”

Swale Council released a statement which has received hundreds of comments online.

Some residents were told their bins won't be collected until the next collection day
Some residents were told their bins won't be collected until the next collection day

It said: “We did expect there to be issues in the early stages of the contract - the crews have to get used to using new vehicles and systems, along with learning new routes - and we're still confident that once we've settled in, the service will be better than it has been.

“We are working with Suez at all levels – including our chief executive contacting her counterpart - to address the issues you’re raising with delayed or missed collections.”

Below it, people flocked to the comments to express their frustration at the situation.

One said: “When reported on the website, it stated there was a breakdown – the truck didn't look broken down when it drove round the entire estate, including the roads where they had turned round to get back out.”

Another added: “The road looks like a dump with all the rubbish that has fallen out of the bins and blown everywhere.”

Other comments said Sheppey was also being affected.

“Sheerness looks even more like the aftermath of the apocalypse than usual,” said one.

Colin Turner, 80, of Seathorpe Avenue, Minster, said he put his recycling bin out on Monday ready for collection the following day but it had not been emptied.

“We also put out our food waste bins and if they aren’t collected that’s a health hazard,” he added. “We’re going to have rats and goodness knows what else.

“It’s disgraceful. I’ve tried to call to complain but can’t get through. It just says they are experiencing more calls than usual and then cuts you off.

“They were quick to collect the council tax - but they can’t empty our bins.”

Swale council has addressed the ongoing situation. Picture: Paulbox
Swale council has addressed the ongoing situation. Picture: Paulbox

But, Swale council said that yesterday (Tuesday) 94% of general waste, 64% of recycling and 72% of garden bins were collected, though they were aware of some outstanding from last week.

“There will be three additional crews this week to try to get collections back on track, and plans are in place to be out on Saturday to collect any outstanding items.

They added that the staff are adapting to the new routes and system, and have been working extra hours as well as over the bank holiday and Saturday.

“While we keep working to get to the level of service you expect, the advice remains the same - if your bins aren’t collected, please leave them out and we’ll get to them as soon as we can.

“We’re grateful for your patience and support whilst we work to settle into the new service, and we're still confident we'll have a more resilient and reliable service in the long run.”

Households in Lenham, near Maidstone, have also reported their bins being missed.

Robert Judd said: “This new contractor did not collect recycled rubbish from the whole of Lenham and surrounding parishes.

“I reported the failure to Maidstone Borough Council but they stated there are too many bins to be collected within the normal two days.”

Like those in Sittingbourne, he says their bins will not be collected until April 11.

A spokesperson for Maidstone Borough Council said: “Recycling collections in Lenham, under the new waste contract, were completed last Friday (March 29), and it was reported that many garden bins had instead been presented, which were not due for collection until Friday, April 5.

“Residents across the borough of Maidstone were sent letters from the Council in early March which advised them of possible collection changes.”

The council added that they would like to remind residents that they can also check on the website to see when their collection is due. Click here to see.

“If any recycling collections were missed last week, residents can present additional recycling in a cardboard box on their next collection.”

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