A LOCAL MSP has called on Fife Council’s boss to address failures in bin collections.

Alex Rowley has asked the council’s CEO Steve Grimmond for answers over “what seems like ongoing failures within the refuse collection services in Fife”.

Mr Rowley demanded that Mr Grimmond revealed plans to rectify the faults in the service after he was told COVID absenteeism and vehicle breakdowns were to blame.

In a letter to the council chief, Mr Rowley said: “Another week and more bins are left on the streets of communities in Fife uncollected. I am told that this ongoing failure of services is down to COVID absenteeism and mechanical breakdowns with vehicles.

“Whilst there is no doubt that COVID has had, and continues to have, an impact on services, this surely must be addressed so that services such as getting the bins collected are addressed. Likewise, the breakdown issues must also be addressed so that a lorry breaking down does not grind the whole service to a halt. What has been put in place to address these issues?

“I am also told by staff who work in the service that staffing levels are far too low and indeed the workers were struggling to complete the routes even before COVID as there were not enough staff and equipment to get the job done.

“It may be that there is simply not enough funding to get the job done but if that is the case then you have a duty to report this to councillors and set out what is needed and what costs are involved to get these services running at an acceptable level that is able to meet the basic requirements of lifting people’s bins rather than simply not turning up and leaving bins full of rubbish out on streets across communities.

“To simply keep coming up with excuses is not good enough and I am requesting that you set out what actions are going to be taken to address this failure to deliver these vital services.”

Senior manager John Rodigan explained that, as with many industries and organisations across the UK, the council was dealing with high numbers of employees absent from work due to COVID.

He said: “With nearly 40 per cent of the workforce absent from our service, it’s not possible to maintain domestic waste collection services. Impacts are being felt across Fife and we can only apologise for any inconvenience caused.

“We will be working hard over the coming weekends to recover backlogs and really appreciate the public support for our teams as they try to catch up with missed bins.

“We are exploring longer-term solutions to create more resilience in the service and better cope with future spikes in absence, whatever the cause.”