City council hopes to clear Topsham refuse and recycling

THE CITY council has attempted to reassure concerned Topsham residents that it is doing everything practicable to clear a backlog of refuse and recycling collections.

A sea of bin bags has piled up outside some properties in the town as a result of black household waste collections being cancelled before the festive season.

The local authority called off the collections because of the pre-Christmas snow and ice.

Extra crews and vehicles have now been called in to clear the build-up.

Cllr Rob Hannaford, Lead Councillor for Environment and Leisure, said: “We are doing everything that is practicable to catch up.

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“But let’s not forget that these were exceptional circumstances – it was the coldest December for over 100 years and the most snow for nearly 50 years.

“Exeter is not the only authority in Devon and the whole of the country that is playing catch-up!

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“Before Christmas we had to put safety first. Many roads were snowbound and we could not risk putting 26-ton trucks on them.

“Two of our workers broke bones slipping on the ice and we had to consider the risk not only to them but to the public.”

Cllr Rob Hannaford added: “We could not collect on any of the Bank Holidays because the waste transfer stations that we use were not open and it is illegal to store refuse in our trucks overnight.”

The Council says it will look to clear all collections that were cancelled because of the snow by the end of this week.

In the meantime it will be talking to Devon County Council to see if they can change the planning and other permissions regarding opening hours of its waste transfer stations in emergency situations.

The Council is also looking at how it can further enhance how it communicates to its residents any changes to refuse collections in such exceptional circumstances.

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