BOURNEMOUTH’S bin crews are starting their rounds an hour earlier “to avoid the hottest time of day and staff exhaustion.”

The decision to start collections earlier during the summer has sparked complaints from some residents who have been woken up from 5am.

Bournemouth council has apologised to affected residents but said the crews will continue to go out early until the weather breaks. Refuse collectors are also being provided with bottles of water. 

Cllr Michael Filer, the cabinet member with responsibility for waste, said workers were doing a pressurised job in difficult conditions. He said the increase in rubbish on Bournemouth's beaches added to the pressure on workers.

"We're a caring, sharing council, we've got to look after our residents, our visitors and our members of staff," he said.

"In making this decision we feel that we are doing everything possible to ensure that everybody has a first class service and that our staff are being looked after.

"For people who get woken up a little bit earlier, I'm really sorry but I would ask them to consider the health and safety of the men who are working in intolerable heat."

Hamish Greenwood, the council's refuse manager, said: "For the last few weeks we have been starting all our waste and recycling collections at the earlier time of 5am rather than 6am.

"This is due to the very warm temperatures we have been experiencing this summer and ensures that crews are able to complete their rounds before the hottest parts of the day.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused residents and want to reassure them that the crews are working efficiently and quietly to minimise any potential disruption.”

A spokesperson for the Borough of Poole confirmed they had not changed their bin collection schedule, which sees crews report to the depot at 6.30am.