Context: The new waste and recycling service began on 27 November 2023 and was the culmination of a two-year project.

The main reasons for the new service were a legal requirement for food waste to be collected across the borough by 2024, and to replace an aged vehicle fleet that were rapidly becoming unserviceable, expensive to run and required an expensive rental solution to supplement vehicle failure.

The results for the first four weeks after launch were encouraging with a more than 99 per cent collection rate. The teams worked through teething issues with the new fleet and crews became familiarised with the new routes.

Councillor Chris Watts, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Transport, said: “The Christmas week was expected to be a challenge with the loss of two working days, but plans were put in place to combat this with crews working on a Saturday and extra hours available.

“Through the remaining days of the Christmas week, it was noted that the amount of cardboard being collected, although expected to increase, was considerably higher than predicted, presenting a capacity issue for the new vehicles. This further compounded the collection challenges as the wagons had to return more often to the depot. This also created an efficiency issue as, although the cardboard compartments were full, the other collection pods had unused capacity.

“The knock-on effect has been significant for those with collections on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with delayed collections experienced in a number of areas across the Borough and crews are working very hard to bring the service back under control.

“The teams are currently working on a recovery plan that will see additional vehicles and wagons out to support the crews. Most of the Christmas Day collections have been brought in and the crews are now working to weave in the Boxing Day routes within their normal collections. If your Boxing Day collection has not happened by Friday, 5 January, then this will be collected on Tuesday, 9 January.

“I would like to thank the residents of Swindon who have overwhelmingly bought into the new system and apologise for the inconvenience caused by the delays. This will take several weeks to fully catch up, but please be assured that the team are focused on returning to a normal collections service as quickly as possible and lessons will be learnt.”

Best Regards
Chris Watts
Old Town Ward
Cabinet Member for The Environment and Transport
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