Veolia Issued Warning About Street Cleaning Failures

Uncollected rubbish becoming an increasing problem in Merton

Uncollected bins on Kingston Road, Wimbledon

February 28, 2022

Rubbish piling up on the streets in Merton has become so bad, the council has officially warned bin collection company Veolia to take urgent action.

The authorities issued it with a service improvement notice following “significant and ongoing concerns” with the quality of street-cleaning services.

Roads in need of clearing up should be attended to within 24 hours. In Merton, Veolia previously hit this target 97 per cent of the time but this has drastically dropped to just 39 per cent, according to Merton Council.

The company is contracted to look after waste services across the South London Waste Partnerships, which covers Sutton, Croydon, Merton and Kingston.

Merton’s cabinet member for local environment and green spaces, Labour Councillor Natasha Irons, said, “Over a sustained period of time, Veolia have consistently failed to meet their contractual obligations, and we are not afraid to take action to drive much-needed improvement.

“The council has demonstrated its commitment to clean streets through investment in new mechanical sweepers and pavement washer equipment. Veolia must now match this commitment by addressing their underperformance and our concerns.”

The formal notice means Veolia now has 10 working days to respond with an action plan and timetable for improvements.

But the Merton Conservative group took to Twitter to express scepticism at the timing of the move, suggesting it was to do with the upcoming election.

They tweeted, “Merton Labour have finally woken up. Residents don’t need a survey to tell them their streets are filthy, they just have to walk out of their front door.”

While group deputy leader Daniel Holden said, “I’ve long told the Labour council to act on Veolia. Green bags left for ages, bins not emptied, residents ignored by Labour. I’ve long been of the view that streets only get cleaned when Tory councillors kick up a fuss, as I often do.”

The LDRS contacted Merton Labour leader Mark Allison about the claims from the Merton Tories.

In response, a statement from the council’s press office said: “The performance management framework of the contract has been weighted to reflect the importance of the improvement of street cleansing services needed.

“The performance framework is assessed quarterly and the last two quarters were significantly underperforming, therefore the next logical step in the management of the contract is to utilise the provision for issuing a service improvement notice.”

Tara O'Connor - Local Democracy Reporter