Agenda and minutes

South Hams Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 10th June, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Chamber - Kilworthy Park. View directions

Contact: Email: 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence



Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs M Chown, J T Pennington, J Rose and J Sweett.




Declarations of Interest

Members are invited to declare any personal or disclosable pecuniary interests, including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting;



Members and officers were invited to declare any interests in the items of business to be considered during the course of the meeting but there were none made. 



Council's Waste and Recycling Service - Performance

To receive an update from the Executive Portfolio Holder for Waste and Recycling on the progress in resolving the issues currently affecting the performance of the service.




At the invitation of the Chairman, the Committee was addressed by the Executive Lead Member with responsibility for waste and recycling.  The Member stated that he was very concerned with the level of service provided to some parts of the South Hams District by FCC Environment (the Council’s Contractor) and took responsibility for this as residents looked to the Council to provide a satisfactory waste and recycling collection service. 


The Member outlined initial explanations and reasons, including a dislike of service change of which there were many, and teething troubles, and said that South Hams District Council (SHDC) did not react quickly enough to the initial problems. The new round changes to collections had been devised by FCC Environment, who had assured SHDC that the new rounds had been tested and worked well, but it was clear that this was not the case as some rounds had been assigned to vehicles which were too big for their allocated route.  This, coupled with new vehicle drivers being assigned to routes they did not know and without a pilot to show the way to go, had been a major contributing factor to the problems being experienced.


The Member paid tribute to all who had worked hard to get this service improved, including the staff in waste, local Ward Members who had been dealing with members of the public and to the Executive, who had worked strenuously to get things put right, including regular meetings with the Contractor, at which the Council’s dissatisfaction with the service was repeatedly stressed.


The Member said he believed that the new service, when made to work, would be the right approach as its aim was to improve recycling rates within the District and align the service to the rest of Devon and the majority of the West Country and Wales.  This approach to waste collection would soon become a Central Government requirement.  With the enhanced ability to collect and recycle bottles, food waste, and a greater variety of plastic containers, where the service was operating properly, the recycling rates had increased significantly and the landfill waste much reduced.


The Lead Member concluded by apologising to the public and Members.


The Deputy Chief Executive acknowledged that SHDC had not provided good customer service nor delivery to all residents of South Hams.  He averred that the team had been working hard to improve the situation, often working 12 hours a day and seven days a week, but that the Council had been fundamentally let down by its Contractor.  He apologised to Members for having to deal with these issues and to residents for having to experience these issues, and thanked the Lead Member of the Executive for his hard work and support.  Due to the sheer volume of contact over these issues, unfortunately not all emails had received a response, again negatively impacting on the service provided to both Members and the public.  The Deputy Chief Executive firmly held FCC Environment responsible for the situation.


The Officer  ...  view the full minutes text for item O&S.3/21