A council boss has apologised to residents for its “unacceptable” bin collection service.

Norse South East has been beset with problems this year, and almost every day East Hampshire District Council has had to notify residents that collections have not been made.

And council leader Richard Millard has admitted: “The level of service has been unacceptable – but I am working with the team to ensure we get back on track and see a dramatic improvement as soon as possible.

“The problems are no longer related to a shortage in drivers and loaders which, you will recall, we addressed last year with higher pay and supporting a recruitment campaign.

“The issues now are two-fold: there are staff shortages in the workshop at Havant and there are vehicles needing repairs, so there is a slow turnaround time for getting vehicles back on the road.

“Coupled with this, there have been problems sourcing vehicle parts.

“Out of the 18 vehicles, seven needed parts from Europe which has been taking a considerable time.

“While these are practical problems being experienced by Norse, it is an unacceptable service for our residents.

“We have insisted on the development of a recovery plan that sets out exactly the steps required to catch up with missed rounds.

“We now have this plan and Norse has told me all vehicles are now operational and back on the road – which means there are spare vehicles out with the capacity to catch up.

“Their recovery plan states they will catch up with all missed collections by close of play this Saturday.

“Clearly we cannot predict issues that may arise for Norse SE which could cause further delays but we have asked Norse to provide us with updates and we will keep you informed.”

Tomorrow (Thursday) recycling will be collected in Alton and on Friday crews will be out in Bordon.