RESIDENTS in the Cowdenbeath area are "sick to the teeth" of continued missed bin collections.

Councillor Alex Campbell has called for change and has asked questions of Fife Council over issues affecting the refuse bin collection service.

Citing locals having to bring their bins back in off the street after the council's failure to uplift them, the newly-elected chair of Cowdenbeath Area Committee told the Times that he has requested council officers bring a report to the next meeting of the committee on August 18.

He said: "This week we saw yet again people putting their bins out only to take them back in a few days later after the council failed to collect them. This level of service is unacceptable and I am asking those in charge to come to the committee and explain what the problems are.

"I have made clear to senior management within the service and to the executives in charge of managing Fife Council that we demand action and a plan to get these services onto a workable footing."

He continued: “I am advised that £2.4 million has been agreed for the purchase of 13 new lorries which is expected to improve the reliability of the fleet and we need the detail of when this will happen. I am also advised that additional staff are being recruited and again we need the detail, and we need a better understand of what has gone wrong with the assurance that management are on top of the issues.

“It is important that all councillors are able to hear direct from those charged with managing these services and that we have the confidence that managers are on top of what needs to happen to get these services running at an acceptable level.

"It is also crucial that those responsible for the management of these services come to the area committee so the public who are sick to the teeth of the poor service are able to hear what actions are being taken to get the service working properly.

He concluded: “These are vital councils services and I have made clear the current level of service is not acceptable and I will be holding council executives to account."

Responding, Fife Council service manager Sandy Anderson, commented: "Over the last few months, we have struggled with challenges including staff shortages and industry-wide difficulties sourcing equipment to repair lorries. New vehicles ordered for the fleet have also been delayed due to national supply issues.

“Alongside issues of staff absences and vehicle breakdowns, there is a national shortage of HGV drivers which is making it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain staff to drive our lorries. This is affecting industries across the country and unfortunately there is no quick fix for the problem.

“In the short-term, we are working with our recruitment team to help fast-track people into waste collector roles which should help ease some pressures on the service and we are asking staff to work overtime.

"I’d thank everyone for their patience and understanding while we work hard to keep the service running as best we can, and we would encourage Fifers to keep recycling making use of local recycling centres if necessary.”

Spokesperson for environment and climate change Cllr Jan Wincott added: "It is disappointing to hear that routes were missed last week despite the best effort of staff working overtime at the weekend, and I'm working closely with service managers to try and find ways to resolve the situation.

“While we are in these challenging times of Covid, staff absences, and vehicle breakdowns I would encourage everyone to continue recycling their waste by making sure boxes, cans and plastic bottles are all squashed flat to maximise the capacity of their bins."