Brown bin left outside North Herts council – and returned next day, emptied

Hitchin's Paul Sharma with his unemptied brown garden-waste bin outside the North Hertfordshire Dist

Hitchin's Paul Sharma with his unemptied brown garden-waste bin outside the North Hertfordshire District Council offices in Letchworth. Picture: Paul Sharma - Credit: Archant

A man frustrated with North Hertfordshire’s waste service left his uncollected brown bin outside the district council’s offices – and received it back the next day, emptied and cleaned.

Paul Sharma, of Mountjoy in Hitchin, was driven to desperate action after repeated delays picking up his brown garden-waste bin – collections for which North Herts households must now pay a £40 charge.

He left the brown bin outside the district council offices in Letchworth’s Gernon Road, with a note to waste portfolio holder Councillor Michael Weeks that concluded: “I am sure the bin will be emptied extremely quickly now I have made the job easy by bringing the bin to you.”

In an apparent victory for Mr Sharma, he had the bin returned to his home the next morning.

“Instant result,” he told this paper. “I dropped the bin off at 3pm on Wednesday. Then I went past the council at 8am the next morning, and the bin was not there! At 10am, the council brought my bin back – all emptied, and washed.”

Mr Sharma hired a van and dropped off the bin outside the district council offices on Wednesday afternoon.

In the letter he attached to the brown bin, Mr Sharma said he had been assured by Mr Weeks last Friday that his bin would be collected on Monday – but that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday had passed without it being picked up.

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Referring to Urbaser, the firm that took over as North Herts’ new waste contractor in May, he wrote: “The previous contractor, Veolia, used to recollect on the same day or next day.”

Addressing Mr Weeks, he went on: “You have failed persistently. I suggest you should resign from this portfolio position. If you were working in a private firm, they would have sacked such a person straight away.”

Mr Weeks told this paper in response: “We would like to apologise for the disruption that this resident has experienced with his garden-waste collection.

“Urbaser’s management team have been in contact with Mr Sharma and they will ensure that his collections are monitored over the coming weeks to prevent further missed collections.

“While we understand his frustration, we cannot condone this approach. Residents should be aware that this constitutes flytipping and leaves them at risk of facing a fine or prosecution.”

Urbaser has repeatedly said the vast majority of bin collections are taking place, and issued apologies to both the council and the people of North Herts.

Anyone with a missed collection should email or call 0800 328 6023.