Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Michael Kenwood

Belfast Council bin collection review after Christmas complaints

Belfast Council is to review its system of bin collection after failures over Christmas led to a fifth of residential waste not being collected by the local authority.

At Belfast City Council ’s meeting this week of its People and Communities Committee, officers told elected representatives that waste disposal was currently implementing a “recovery” plan following the collapse of services over the holiday period.

On Boxing Day the council apologised to residents for inconvenience caused by a lack of bin collection over the festive period, and blamed a shortage of drivers. Collections which normally take place on Tuesday were not emptied on December 27th, with residents told they would have to wait two weeks.

Read more: Crescent Park gates' decision deferred ahead of further consultation

Earlier this week, at the full council meeting in City Hall, councillors said that the angry response from residents was “mortifying,” while council worker’s morale was “at an all time low” from being “overworked and underpaid.”

At the People and Communities Committee later in the week, a council officer told the chamber: “Obviously we had difficulties over Christmas and the New Year. We have been working to try and recover the situation, so we put in place contingency plans that have recovered the missed collections from routes on January 2nd.

“For those households who didn’t get a collection on the 27th, there have been plans placed for colleagues to pick up side waste and empty the bins. Those recovery plans will continue this week.”

Asked how many drivers were required for bin collection across the 54 routes in the city, she said: “At the moment we are reviewing that, and certainly as part of that review we will return with more information in relation to routes and what we think is appropriate in terms of sustaining the overall service.”

She added: “We have done a number of individual recruitment campaigns and there is more to come. But we are looking at the whole system, and the whole process, because I think it does need some further review. It has probably grown organically for the last few years.”

The council has agreed to the return of a Cleansing Task Force for the city, which was discontinued during the coronavirus >Covid pandemic. The committee also agreed for council site visits to streets facing consistent problems with missed collections.

However at the committee, several councillors said that their constituents were continuing to report a failure to empty bins.

Green Party Councillor Mal O’Hara said: “This feels like an ongoing debacle. We have had weeks of this over Christmas, and there is a mop up/tidy up happening this week.

“But personally I’m still sitting with a bin out the front here on the road waiting for collection from yesterday. I’ve had contact during this committee from a number of residents who say their bins were not collected today despite them expecting it.

“It really feels like a corporate failure from us. We had the whole storm in the summer, particularly around cleansing the city centre, but also around communities, and now over Christmas we can’t collect the bins.

“It feels like on some of the core duties of this council we are failing fundamentally. And that is really, really disheartening, because cleansing and recycling are so important in terms of how we address the climate crisis, and how we as a statutory agency make it as easy as possible for citizens to do what they can do to play their part.”

Sinn Féin Councillor JJ Magee said: “It is sometimes about explaining how the job is sometimes quite difficult, and sometimes people need to be that little bit patient with them. As long as it is followed up by good work targeted there.”


For all the latest news, visit the Belfast Live homepage here. To sign up to our FREE newsletters, see here.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.