COUNCIL contractors have apologised to residents for the ongoing disruption to Epping Forest waste and recycling collection services.

Councillors met senior waste company executives in Epping on January 12 to review contract performance.

Simon Crook, Biffa’s operations director, said: "As one of the UK’s biggest waste management companies, we pride ourselves on our reputation for good customer service.

"Unfortunately, there have been significant problems with the Epping Forest contract, but everyone at Biffa is 100 per cent committed to giving residents the service they deserve.

"We have had a full and frank discussion with Epping Forest district councillors, and neither Biffa nor the council wants the current level of service to continue.

"There are many reasons for the missed collections, exacerbated by the recent snow and other matters beyond our control, including global supply chain issues and the national HGV driver shortage, but that does not make the inconvenience to residents any less.

"We want to apologise for what’s happened, and I want to reassure residents that we are doing all we can with Epping Forest District Council to improve the situation as quickly as possible."

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Councillor Chris Whitbread said: "Biffa has been telling us the situation is not good enough and whatever the reasons, performance must improve.

"We understand each other, and Biffa has agreed to a range of measures that residents should start to see as service improvements in the next few days and weeks."

Councillor Nigel Avey added: "Problems such as staff shortages and unreliable vehicles are being addressed.

"We are talking with other waste contractors as Biffa has agreed to make its MRF recycling facilities available to these contractors.

"We are working with Biffa to improve communications between its staff and our contact centre to handle customer complaints.

"Biffa will provide better live-time information so that when a collection is missed, residents will have a more realistic expectation of when it will be collected."

The currently missed collection rounds will be caught up in the next couple of cycles, and the large number of missed collections experienced over Christmas should not be repeated.