OVERFLOWING: Rubbish piled up in streets across East Grinstead and surrounding villages
COUNCILS have defended their waste collection services during the recent wintry weather.
Some streets in East Grinstead and the surrounding area were lined with overflowing bins and piles of rubbish in December, as snow and ice created hazardous conditions.
The "unsafe" roads and pavements have been blamed for causing delays of up to a month in some residential areas.
The county council is responsible for gritting roads, but does not clear every street during heavy snowfall.
Councillor Pru Moore, a Mid Sussex District Council cabinet member, said: "Most residential roads are not prioritised for gritting and compacted snow and ice on the roads sometimes means it is not safe for refuse and recycling collections to take place.
"Isolated areas, narrow roads and steep hills all cause particular problems for freighter drivers, as well as compacted ice on pavements, which is extremely difficult for collection staff."
Cllr Moore said it remains the driver's responsibility to decide which streets are safe enough to access.
Tandridge District Council said its contractor, Biffa, cannot make collections until roads, pavements and paths are clear of snow and ice, due to the difficulty of manoeuvring a 26 tonne truck and the increased risk of injury.
A spokesman said: "The recent weather events have reinforced how difficult and dangerous trying to make collections can be."
The council confirmed it will continue to work on its contingency plans with Biffa to try and reduce the number of collections delayed due to snow and ice.
Meanwhile, Councillor Moore was due to hold a "snow debrief" with Mid Sussex District Council's contractor, Serco, yesterday to discuss ways of improving the situation.