Rhiannon, 71, slams ‘lies’ of North Herts bin contractor Urbaser

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:26 30 July 2018

Rhiannon Chapman hasn't had her bins emptied for weeks. Picture: DANNY LOO

Rhiannon Chapman hasn't had her bins emptied for weeks. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

A 71-year-old retiree with severe disabilities has castigated North Herts waste contractor Urbaser and accused it of misleading customers after her garden and food waste was uncollected for weeks.

Rhiannon Chapman hasn't had her bins emptied for weeks. Picture: DANNY LOORhiannon Chapman hasn't had her bins emptied for weeks. Picture: DANNY LOO

Rhiannon Chapman, of Great Wymondley, thought she had paid North Herts’ new £40 annual brown bin charge on May 23 – and indeed has a record for this on contractor Urbaser’s system. But for some reason, her payment is down as ‘pending’.

The problem with Rhiannon’s bins goes beyond the chargable garden waste collections. The retired business consultant’s food waste caddy has also been uncollected for weeks.

Contacted by this paper about this on Monday, Urbaser said it would look into the matter and collect her bins on Tuesday “as a gesture of goodwill until we can get to the bottom of the matter”.

The contractor then said on Wednesday afternoon that it had collected her bins as promised – only for Rhiannon to contact this paper an hour later to say this was not the case.

An Urbaser employee has claimed that working conditions are 'unsafe'. Picture: Danny LooAn Urbaser employee has claimed that working conditions are 'unsafe'. Picture: Danny Loo

The lack of collections has compelled Rhiannon to repeatedly pay her gardeners to take her green waste away, leaving her further out of pocket. She has even tried without success to pay the £40 charge again, reasoning that this might be cheaper and easier in the long run.

“I have spent hours on the phone and online, trying to get answers and commitments from North Herts District Council and Urbaser,” said Rhiannon, who lives alone.

“The stress has been very challenging for me, I am still on prescription painkillers and I don’t cope well with any extra pressure.

“I have a carer and housekeeper who comes for six to eight hours a week, and one of her jobs is to manage my bins and recycling for me. Obviously there are health risks now with the food waste in particular. And we are very prone to attracting rats in this village.

“Apart from the confusion, the worst of it is the lies. Even if you do manage to get through to anyone, they just fob us off. My neighbours have the same problems with their collections.

“The promise always is ‘we will definitely come tomorrow, or at worst, the next day’. But they don’t. This has been the case now for many weeks.

“We know the collection staff are equally frustrated, because they tell us so.”

Urbaser’s Mark Pigott told this paper in response: “I have flagged this up and asked someone to contact her. I have also asked for the crews to visit and empty.”

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