THE NUMBER of complaints about the bin collection service in Basingstoke and Deane has increased by more than 400 per cent in the past year.

Since October 2011, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has been sharing its bin collection service with Hart District Council.

The number of complaints from Basingstoke customers in the 12 months since the launch has risen to 116, compared to just 23 the year before.

Councillor Robert Donnell, the borough council’s environment Cabinet member, said the increase in complaints was not acceptable, and he pledged to get tough with Veolia, the contractor responsible for collecting black bins, and kerbside glass recycling tubs.

“It is not acceptable for me to have any complaints around this because we are in the business of delivering a superior service to our customers,” he told members of the borough’s housing and environment committee, tasked with reviewing the joint service.

“We are holding Veolia to account. They have been given clear instructions around certain things such as crew attitude, and if this does not improve quickly or satisfactorily, we will request, as a borough, our contractual obligations that certain crews are removed from the contract.”

The most complained about part of the service, according to a report to the committee, was “crew attitude”, with 34 complaints in 12 months, followed by 17 about “bins not returned” and 13 about “driving issues”.

In a statement to The Gazette, Cllr Donnell said that an overhaul of the complaints system since the new-look service launched may have prompted the rise.

“The introduction of the new glass collections and the service changes we have made, may have initially prompted more complaints,” he said.

“In addition, we have also changed the way we monitor complaints. We now log complaints that come into our contact centre to pass on to Hart. Previously, we would often deal with these in-house or directly with Veolia.”