TOWN Hall chiefs say refuse collectors have finally cleared the festive bin collection backlog, which left some residents with more than a month’s worth of uncollected rubbish outside their homes.
Lillian Smethurst, 40, of Windmill Gardens, Blackbrook, told the St Helens Reporter how her overflowing household waste bins went uncollected for five weeks - attracting rats and stray cats to her road.
She said: “It’s been terrible. Our bins were overflowing at Christmas - never mind three weeks later. We’ve all been going out every morning to try to tidy the rubbish up but have spotted rats and stray cats poking around.
“I’m the youngest resident around here so I promised I would try to sort it out on everyone else’s behalf but it’s been really difficult. Even the field next to our homes filled up with boxes.”
But St Helens Council chiefs insist that the borough’s bin collections are now back on track after they called upon extra bin crews last Wednesday (January 5) to help clear the backlog.
The six extra crews were brought in to help concentrate on the additional bags left out by hundreds of households throughout the arctic-style cold snap and the festive period.
But last Friday (January 7) the council conceded that collections due for last Thursday (January 6) along 25 roads in Windle, Moss Bank and Newton-le-Willows had been missed.
A council spokeswoman denied that a pay dispute involving refuse collectors was to blame, instead claiming the ongoing delays were caused by queueing bin wagons at the tip in Huyton.
She said: “It is unfortunate that in certain areas of St Helens the bad weather and the road system caused delays in clearing the backlog - it was not ideal. Some homes suffered longer delays because bin wagons could not make it along certain roads and queueing bin wagons at the waste depot in Huyton caused further delays.
“The situation is now returning to normal. The council apologises for any inconvenience caused.”
Plastic collections scheduled for Monday (January 10) had to be cancelled but black box and blue bag collections have now resumed as normal.