Southampton bin collections still falling short, council boss says

Locals have complained about problems with pests, bad smells and rotting waste [BBC]

A city's bin collection service is still falling short of what is expected, a council boss has admitted.

It comes after a new system for waste crews was introduced in Southampton, leading to rubbish piling up on its streets.

More than 10,000 bins went uncollected in March, with residents describing the situation as a "nightmare".

City council leader Lorna Fielker said, despite seeing some improvements, there was "still work to be done".

Cllr Lorna Fielker
Council leader Lorna Fielker says waste crews have been working to address delayed collections [BBC]

Changes to shift patterns and safety practices were introduced in January, meaning workers had to work their full hours, rather than finishing when the job was done.

It brought bin staff shift patterns in line with those of some other workers, Southampton City Council said.

But in February almost 15,000 wheelie bins were reported as uncollected, with locals complaining of rubbish being blown across their streets.

Spending time with bin collectors earlier in the week, Ms Fielker said workers had told her about the "hurdles" they faced.

Staff sickness and mechanical issues had contributed to the backlog, she found.

In the open letter, Ms Fielker said she had spoken to "people with a great work ethic" who "genuinely want to get a good job done".

With the help of some extra workers, waste crews had been prioritising the backlog of uncollected rubbish and recycling in date order, she added.

Apologising for the problems, she went on: "While we have seen an improvement in the collection of general waste on a week-by-week basis, we acknowledge that this still falls short of the service we strive to deliver.

"I recognise that there is still work to be done to improve our performance and optimise our collection routes."

Follow BBC South on Facebook, X, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to or via WhatsApp on 0808 100 2240.