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Recycling and waste service – an update following the announcement of financial penalties

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, along with our partners in Tonbridge and Malling, recently notified Urbaser of our intention to trigger financial penalties in the waste and recycling contract.

This is the latest of several steps the Council has taken to improve the waste and recycling service to make sure our residents receive the service they require.

Experienced Council staff, including data specialists, are already working closely with Urbaser to monitor collection rounds and recommend improvements. We constantly feed back information about missed bin collections and other issues from residents to the service’s managers, and have held high level meetings with the company to set out the improvements we require.

Urbaser had already increased the resources dedicated to collecting waste in our borough, adding extra vehicles, personnel and supervisors. These extra resources have been added at the contractor’s expense.

As a result of these various efforts, service levels have improved and the vast majority of our residents are receiving the waste and recycling service they expect. But some problems persist, including the contractor repeatedly missing bin collections at certain addresses.

We will continue our efforts to work with Urbaser to improve and maintain the service. But we are now triggering financial penalties for individual missed bin collections, particularly those that are being missed regularly.

Matt Bailey, the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Sustainability, said: ‘The waste and recycling service recently underwent a major change to update collection rounds and increase the number of recyclable materials we collect at the kerbside. While the service overall is working normally in most areas, it is unacceptable that some households are still regularly having collections missed. I hope triggering financial penalties will focus minds and help to resolve this problem.’

On Tuesday 7 January the Council notified Urbaser that they intended to trigger financial penalties in light of the continued poor performance. Penalties will relate to their future performance (not applied retrospectively) and will be applied in line with the agreement we have with Urbaser. At this stage we are not able to say what this means financially as this depends on their level of performance in the future.

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