Hi-tech waste system introduced in the Chichester district

Binmen working across the district are the first in the south of England to pioneer a new sat-nav system while on their collection rounds.

Pen and paper is a thing of the past for Chichester District Council's (CDC) refuse collection team as the new system is installed in the council's fleet of refuse trucks.

The new 85,000 system allows refuse truck drivers to report when a bin is missing or contaminated.

The information then gets sent through to the council offices and is available to access almost instantly.

It is expected to save the council 17,000 a year in savings by reducing time and paperwork.

"Previously we had a paper system. Every crew had to write down any issue and of course when residents complained about something, we didn't know the problem until the crew got back," said Bob Riley, CDC's contracts manager.

"This is a much slicker way of doing it. It cuts down on a huge amount of photocopying and paper."

Refuse truck driver Paul West, who has worked for the council for

26 years, said: "It is very easy to use and I much prefer it to the old

manual system.

"You press the property name and it comes up with a menu of options to report issues. Before we had to write down all that information which took time."

Mr Riley said the Bartec systems 'pay for themselves' and are funded from the council's savings pot.

Drivers and crews tried and tested the new system last summer and after giving them the thumbs-up, the council agreed to install them across all 17 refuse trucks.

Other councils in the south of England are expected to follow in CDC's footsteps. Council workers are able to track the refuse trucks using a GPRS system.

A rugged-in cab computer enables the refuse driver to immediately log delays, missing bins and any problems with their progress. The system is linked to CDC's customer service centre.

The system detects 14 properties around where the refuse truck is parked. Drivers can send and receive instant text messages to and from the contact centre while out on their rounds. The system shuts down when the truck is moving.

The new technology will also allow the council to 'target' homeowners who repeatedly forget to put their bins out or contaminate their

wheelie bins.

Mr Riley said there were no plans to microchip residents' bins or keep tabs on their types of waste.

He added: "Recycling has changed a lot over the last decade. We never intend to fine people. We try to make recycling as simple as possible."

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