WORK is ongoing to make improvement to bin collections after Fife Council admitted that over 50,000 were missed or delayed in the last 20 weeks.

The admission was made by Fife Council's Environment and Climate Change spokesperson, Councillor Jan Wincott, at a meeting of the council on Thursday.

She revealed that the latest data, covering 20 weeks, showed five million bins had been collected however there were 27,000 bins missed in a two week period with another 24,500 being collected late.

"It is an extremely unfortunate situation," she told councillors. "This is not just a Fife problem. All local authorities are facing similar challenges over the bin uplifts.

"There is a national shortage of HGV drivers which makes it hard to recruit and train staff. To train an HGV driver, it takes about 12 months. Agency staff are just not available because everyone is trying to recruit them.

"High sickness levels have crippled services because cover cannot be arranged at short notice."

A fast track recruitment process has now been put in place as efforts continue to tackle the issue while overtime is also being offered while 13 new bin lorries are currently on order.

"We have an ageing fleet and the waiting time for new vehicles is currently six to nine months," she added. "We have 13 new vehicles on order. That was at the start of the year so we are hoping to get them delivered by the end of the year and hopefully get some of them in the Autumn.

"We have to support staff who are doing the best job they can in difficult circumstances."

Dunfermline South councillor James Calder said constituents were unhappy about the service.

"I know some have been recycling bins and that has led to constituents finding out they have an eight week gap between their recycling bin collections," he said.

"Is any work being done to try to avoid that situation because obviously we try and encourage recycling and that is going to have significant detrimental impact."

Council leader, Councillor David Ross, said they recognise it is a difficult situation to solve.

"It is an extremely worrying position that has been building up for a number of months now and is leading to some missed bin collections," he said.

"We, as an administration, have made it clear we want from officers a short term plan that will mitigate some of the impacts. We recognise it is a difficult situation. There is not a magic wand to solve the problem but we need to be doing all we can to mitigate pressures.

"On top of that, we are needing a long term plan to make sure the bin collections are sustainable. It is one of the essential services the council provides and we need to be doing that properly."