Claims Scottish Borders refuse collectors are being 'let down' by inadequate vehicles

A Scottish Borders Councillor says refuse collectors in and around Eyemouth are being ‘let down’ by their inadequate vehicles – which adds hundreds of miles to their journeys each month.

Workers are having to use hired transit vans without cages on the back and are having to make much longer journeys, Councillor James Anderson, independent for the East Berwickshire ward, revealed at a meeting of Scottish Borders Council.

As part of public questions,  Mr Anderson asked if there was a “time frame for giving staff the correct vehicle or adaption to a vehicle to empty bins and go about their sanitation duties in East Berwickshire?”

He was informed that there would be new vehicles added to the refuse fleet from the summer of 2023.

Mr Anderon said: “The staff are forced on busy days to do a one hour round trip to Duns to tip the transit van into the appropriate site. Having a transit with a cage on the back would enable the men to carry a heavier load and would save 31 working man hours in August alone.

“It would also save 806 miles or £326.70 in fuel costs in August. Can council have a time frame for the desirable outcome of appropriate actions to be taken; specifically the correct vehicle or adaption supplied to ground staff?”

In response, John Greenwell, the council’s executive member for Roads, Development and Maintenance, said: “The vehicle currently in use to service the street cleaning function in and around the Eyemouth area is a transit van without a cage sides.

“This is a hired vehicle. It is not possible to hire these vehicles with the adaptions currently and as it is hired then we cannot modify it.

“The service is currently trying to develop a more efficient approach for the servicing of on-street waste which may see modification to existing routes and responsibilities within the department.

“The conclusion of this exercise are not yet known.”

The Local Democracy Reporter service heard Mr Greenwell, who represents Mid-Berwickshire, say new vehicles were being acquired as part of an ongoing fleet replacement programme and would start to arrive from June 2023.

He added: “In the meantime the service will continue to use hire vehicles to ensure cleansing operations can be conducted and officers will continue to consider ways to make the operation more efficient.”