North Norfolk District Council admits to ‘isolated problems’ since Kier took over bin collections

There have been 'isolated problems' since Kier took over the �40m contract for collecting thousands of bins across North Norfolk, it was revealed yesterday.

But Richard Garfield, environmental services manager at North Norfolk District Council, said the transfer had 'in the main been very successful'.

A report to the council's overview and scrutiny committee followed some concerns about the firm's early efforts in administering the five-year contract, which includes street cleaning, recycling and 'other services'.

The problems included the fact that putting greens in Sheringham and Cromer were not opened in time for the start of the tourist season.

Mr Garfield said the contract, formerly held by Norse, had 'not yet been signed by Kier' because of concerns about finding a suitable pensions bond.

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But he told councillors the issue had almost been resolved, and that Keir was expected to sign on the dotted line 'next week'.

He said: 'The transfer of staff from Norse to Kier has been successful, and although there was some early discontent with changes in roles, this has settled down to the benefit of the contract.

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'Domestic waste and recycling collections have successfully transferred to Kier, with some minor disruption in the early stages of the contract in areas with difficult access.'

Mr Garfield said Kier had 'moved quickly' to resolve the problem by bringing in more suitable vehicles.

He said new bin collection rounds, which should have been implemented in June, were now expected to go ahead in August, and he added: 'It must be acknowledged that although the scale of round changes is currently unknown, it is inevitable that there will be some disruption to services when these changes are implemented.'

Councillors raised concerns about the number of bottle banks across the district, particularly those for brown glass, and the fact that many were too full to put bottles into.

Mr Garfield said he hoped the problem would be resolved in the near future, with plans for bottle banks to be emptied more often and for more banks to be set up.

He told members that Kier had 'largely maintained' the high standards of cleansing expected, while the cleaning of public toilets had seen 'marked improvements', with complaints 'significantly reduced'.

He concluded: 'Any concerns or issues that have arisen have been quickly resolved to the council's satisfaction, and Kier is keen to develop services in the coming months to make them even more effective to both themselves and the council.'

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