Bin collections in Barnet will finally get back to normal – but not until after Christmas.

Barnet Council’s environment chief told councillors he believed missed bin collections had ‘peaked’ but it would be several weeks before the problems with the service were ironed out completely.

The council rolled out sweeping changes to bin rounds on November 4 in a bid to boost the efficiency of the service and save money.

But councillors have been “inundated” with complaints from residents reporting missed collections – sometimes for up to four weeks in a row.

Jamie Blake, Barnet Council’s strategic director of environment, apologised for the inconvenience caused to members of the public but said major changes such as these were always difficult to implement.

Speaking at the committee meeting yesterday (Wednesday, November 28), he said some staff had been shifted around to new areas and were having trouble finding where bins were stored – particularly in blocks of flats.

Mr Blake admitted some items that had been put in blue bins for recycling were being collected with normal waste as the council put on extra rounds to deal with missed collections.

He said between one and two per cent of collections were being missed, compared to the usual target of 0.1 per cent.

Labour’s environment spokesperson Cllr Alan Schneiderman said the refuse service had become a “shambles” as he called for an urgent review of the changes.

He pointed out that the shake-up was designed to save money yet staff were being paid overtime to deal with the problems.

Cllr Schneiderman said: “I think the key question is when is the service going to get back to normal. When can residents get back the bin collection service they deserve?”

Mr Blake said: “I would hope we could get the majority of the problems resolved over the next few weeks.

“Christmas is coming. After Christmas we have got the Christmas collections, and I hope that after that point we will have got all of these problems fully resolved.

“The vast majority of people’s waste is being picked up and is being picked up on the right day.”

Chair of the committee and Conservative member for Golders Green Cllr Dean Cohen admitted he had been inundated with complaints but said the changes to bin rounds were under continual review.

Mr Blake said he did not think the shake-up had been poorly executed but admitted some aspects could have been better managed.

Laithe Jajeh, Conservative member for Hale, asked whether team members from the previous rounds could have gone through the collections with the new teams before the changes were rolled out.

Mr Blake said: “We could have switched crews in that way. That is a lesson learned.”

Mr Blake agreed officers would update councillors on their progress with bin rounds shortly before Christmas.

The environment committee will discuss the situation when it meets again in January.