Sunday refuse collections promised for city in battle to clear backlog

Sunday bin collections will take place in Leeds this week following complaints of rubbish piling up, as the city deals with a major reorganisation of the service and the impact of bad weather.

There have been concerns from residents across the area that bins have not been emptied for several weeks after routes were changed at the end of October.

Extra staff and managers are being drafted in to support the service as a senior councillor last night admitted the issues being faced were more than "teething troubles".

The problems in Leeds come after Local Government Minister Bob Neill said earlier this week he had written to all English council leaders warning that taxpayers regard regular bin collections as "one of the most basic services" they provide.

In Leeds a review of how the service has operated so far is taking place and from Monday an extra two collection crews are being restored.

Refuse collectors will also be working on Sunday to catch up on any unemptied bins so that from Monday next week they will be able to focus on normal daily collections. Extra staff and managers are being drafted in to support the service.

Under the shake-up, the number of bin collection routes have been reduced from 51 to 40. Bosses say more efficient and longer rounds have allowed them to take some bin lorries off the roads and save the authority 2.4m.

In Leeds the changes have been exacerbated by the cold snap and the Christmas period.

Last night the city council's executive member for environmental services, Coun Tom Murray, said: "It's become clear that the issues we are now facing are more than teething troubles and we are pulling out all the stops to get this sorted."