SOLIHULL council has apologised to residents with split recycling bins who will now have to wait seven weeks for replacements.
The council tweeted today informing Silhillians the original 20-day wait for replacing faulty wheelie bins once a request is lodged has more than doubled.
Opposition councillors say they fear the crisis could persist beyond Christmas as households continue to complain of backlogs of waste.
As we reported, a ‘manufacturing fault’ was uncovered in the borough’s 76,000 plastic brown bins distributed in March 2015.
Around 14,000 bins had been replaced early last month costing the taxpayer nearly £100,000.
Last month the council had received 20,000 requests for replacements bins and this number is expected to have risen since then.
Green councillor Tim Hodgson told us he will be imploring the council to implement an internal investigation to scrutinise the management of the debacle.
He said: “At least Solihull council is giving residents an idea of how long they’re going to wait now.
“It is not at all ideal and could have been handled a lot better.
“There are some tough questions to answer especially concerning information given to residents which has been inadequate.
“Because of the backlogs, the wait time is huge – people are really suffering.
“We are getting new complaints all the time about people who have been waiting considerable lengths of time – in some cases several months.
“Obviously the council said 20 days and it was never going to meet that time-frame – and an increase to seven weeks doesn’t surprise me at all.
“I have been in discussion with our internal audit team because I want a thorough review of what has happened here and what lessons can be learned.”
As we reported, angry residents have spoken out over severe build-ups of recyclable waste as bin men suddenly refused to take collections in June.
The bins with particularly large splits have been labelled health and safety risks and marked with stickers while alternative collection methods have been offered by the council.
The council says the cost of the replacement bins will be covered by MGB – a wheelie bin manufacturer.
But additional labour and administrative costs make up the price shouldered by the taxpayer.
Solihull council tweeted: “The average waiting time for a replacement brown bin is now seven weeks.
“We apologise for this delay. Please make use of clear sacks (available at our libraries, walk-in centres and Bickenhill Household Waste Recycling Centre) plastic tubs or hessian/jute bags while you wait.”
But Coun Hodgson said this method was not a long-term solution and the council needs to be more proactive in assisting residents.
He said: “I think a lot of people are very disappointed and cross.
“A lot of people are saying ‘I pay my council tax; I’m doing my side of the deal but the council isn’t doing its duty in return’.”