The odds were certainly against refuse collectors in the Horsham district as they battled to empty over 57,000 bins in the treacherous weather.
Flooded roads, heavy rainfall and high winds meant big problems as staff struggled on occasions to get the council’s vehicles up and down many waterlogged roads, some with newly-emerged potholes.
The council has four crews scheduled to work in narrow access areas each day, however one vehicle broke down early last week followed by two more a couple of days later.
Particular problems were encountered with small vehicles that are used on the district’s narrower lanes. Many of these posed particular difficulties with very large puddles and flooded areas.
Two of the vehicles developed electrical faults due to water damage from heavily flooded roads. While the third sustained damage to the rear axle.
In order to keep the collections on schedule as far as possible, extra vehicles were hired in to get the job done and get bins emptied.
The weather and breakdown meant some collections were running behind schedule but the priority was given to getting back up to speed and protecting us from any more breakdowns.
Councillor Andrew Baldwin, cabinet member for the environment, said: “The crews have done a superb job despite the terrible conditions and managed to get as many bins emptied on time as they could.
“The combinations of breakdown and the need to hire in vehicles has put pressure on the service and the need to hire in vehicles will undoubtedly add extra cost to our already hard pressed budgets. It was considered that the council taxpayers would expect us to give priority to maintaining the service as close as possible to normal despite the extra cost.
“Thank you also to the public for their understanding. We encourage people to leave their bins out if a collection is delayed and it will be picked up as soon as possible.”
Vulnerable residents, such as the elderly and disabled residents living alone, are supported by the council with its assisted bin collection scheme.
Residents can find out more about when their bins will be collected by visiting the council’s website https://www.horsham.gov.uk for a personalised bin collection calendar.