An “unusually high” level of bin lorry breakdowns has hit around 1,500 rural homes and businesses across Fife.
Hundreds of people in north east and central Fife have been told to leave their bins out until Thursday, after refuse in hard to reach areas was left uncollected.
While repairs have now been made to the affected vehicles, which were recently bought specifically to service rural areas, the council has been left with a backlog of collections which will take days to sort out.
The issue was reported via Fife Council’s Twitter and Facebook accounts at around 9am on Tuesday, prompting fury among some members of the public who said they found it difficult to understand how so many vehicles could have broken down at once.
That view was echoed by north east Fife Conservative councillor Linda Holt, who said the latest incident followed disruption a few weeks ago when new bin collection routes and timetables were introduced.
“All this suggests an organisation which is not on top of its game,” she said.
“If poorer service is the result of budget savings starting to bite, Fife Council should be honest with council tax payers.”
Ms Holt, councillor for East Neuk and Landward, claimed the latest problem could compound rates of fly tipping which have risen by 35% across Fife since opening hours were cut at the region’s recycling centres.
“Disruptions to bin collections will also increase fly tipping and general mess in our streets as full bins are left out for days,” she said.
“Such ‘savings’ do not save money as they increase costs for other parts of Fife Council who have to clean up.”
The council’s environment spokesperson, councillor Ross Vettraino, said the breakdowns had nothing to do with budget savings.
“It’s a direct reflection of the fact the vehicles do break down,” he said.
“It’s also a fact that those who have never had to deliver an essential service, such as waste collection, have no idea of the problems that have to be accommodated on a daily basis.”
Tuesday’s bin lorry problem was put down to a “glitch” in the operating systems with the new vehicles.
A van was brought in for households on a sack collection and a larger lorry used for properties where it could gain access, although many bins were not uplifted.
Senior manager John Rodigan apologised and said: “We have been experiencing an unusually high level of breakdowns in the smaller refuse collection vehicles that service rural and hart to access properties across Fife.
“Approximately 1,500 have been affected, however the vehicles have now been repaired and the backlog will be recovered by Thursday morning of this week.”