Minister Bob Neill tells councils to tackle rubbish backlog

Councils have been accused of complacency and failure to address the seriousness of piles of rubbish building up on streets during the past month.

Local government minister Bob Neill has written to council leaders telling them a regular bin collection is one of the most basic services council taxpayers pay for.

His letter says: “Yet many families, who have already seen council tax more than double in the last 13 years, have had to wait for over a month for their waste to be collected, which because of Christmas is likely to be larger in volume and may well include more food waste than usual. As a result a potentially unhealthy backlog of waste is piling up on many streets.”

The MP for Bromley and Chislehurst says he understands the combination of severe snow and the festive break created a “major headache” for many councils, but there is widespread public concern over the disruption to rubbish collections.

He adds: “It is particularly troubling that some press reports could appear to suggest a level of complacency and a failure to address the seriousness of the issues.

“Families who have been told to stockpile their rotting refuse inside their own homes by councils are entitled to wonder if their council views the rubbish collection as just a favour not a right.”

Mr Neill tells council leaders it would be “wise” to find ways to explain to residents what action is being taken to tackle the backlog and what plans are being made to maintain services in the spring when disruptions will be caused by Easter, the royal wedding and bank holidays.

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How have rubbish collections been maintained where you live? Have big piles of waste been building up or has your council kept up with collections? Email with your views and pictures, or post your comments below.