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New software will curb Fife’s missed bin collections and catch out problem parkers

Cllr Ross Vettraino with council employees Sam Scofield, Cliff Mitchell and Robert Anderson.
Cllr Ross Vettraino with council employees Sam Scofield, Cliff Mitchell and Robert Anderson.

Bin lorries in Fife will soon be able to record all routes to show badly parked cars blocking streets.

It is hoped the new software will allow Fife Council to pinpoint why bins have not been emptied when problems occur.

Missed collections has been a particular problem in north east Fife, where councillors have previously raised questions over 2,222 complaints made to the local authority in a single year.

However, the region’s environment committee convener Ross Vettraino has come out fighting, suggesting that the behaviour of some residents is more often than not the root cause.

Speaking to members of the north east Fife area committee, Mr Vettraino said bins were not picked up because they were either not put out, or because parked cars had prevented refuse lorries from accessing streets.

Both of those situations across Fife will be addressed by new software being introduced from next month, he revealed, which will record routes and allow staff to investigate complaints thoroughly.

“There are two main reasons (for missed bins) – one is they are not put out for collection and the other reason is that many of the streets in north east Fife are difficult to access at the best of times and impossible to access as a consequence of irresponsible parking,” Mr Vettraino said.

“I have myself spent a morning on a refuse collection vehicle and witnessed this first hand. I must praise the skill of the staff who can negotiate these vehicles in very difficult circumstances indeed.

Cllr Ross Vettraino with council employees Sam Scofield, Cliff Mitchell and Robert Anderson.

“As far as bins not being put out for collection, I expect to have a lot fewer complaints because next month we are implementing a new software facility which will video the entire route of a refuse collection vehicle, and if someone complains that their bin was missed, this software can immediately zoom into that location at the time the refuse collection vehicle was there and we will see whether or not the bin was presented for servicing.

“I expect that alone will reduce the number of complaints received.

“But there is no public service that is as good as it can be if it doesn’t have the community’s active support.”

Mr Vettraino went on to say the number of complaints represented 0.09% of the near 2.5 million annual bin collections in north east Fife.

“It kind of puts it into perspective as far as I’m concerned,” he added.

Liberal Democrat councillor Jonny Tepp questioned why bin crews have not been allowed to leave notes on vehicles which are blocking the path of bin lorries, suggesting there have been difficulties in tracking down the culprits.

But Mr Vettraino said the new software should improve that situation as well.

“If the lorry can’t get access to a street, staff will be able to take a photo of the car and that photo will be retained on file and we can then communicate with the registered owner,” he said.

“I think that is a much better arrangement than a crew having to stick a sticker on the car.”

North east Fife area committee convener Donald Lothian was pleased to hear about the developments and urged residents to play their part.

“There are certainly members of society whose behaviour never fails to disappoint,” he said.

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