THE rollout of new blue bins for recycling card and paper in a borough caused a spike in complaints to a local authority.

The problem is revealed in a report of Blackburn with Darwen Council's executive board meeting on Thursday next week.

The summary of complaints for 2020/21 by customer services boss Cllr Quesir Mahmood reveals that overall the numbers fell.

But it highlights that household waste recycling remained a major cause of residents' dissatisfaction.

It also reveals that council tax bills and the payment of coronavirus grants caused concern.

The report says: "We see a 26 per cent decrease for environment complaints compared to the previous year.

"There was a slight rise in complaints during the first half of the year due to missed collections.

"Most of these were due to lack of recycled waste management by households leading to waste contamination.

"Introduction of the new ‘blue’ recycling bin (card and paper waste) came into effect from August 3 which also contributed to the rise in complaints, whereby residents were unsure about what was allowed to be included in this bin.

"These complaints decreased during the second half of the year."

Conservative environment spokeswoman Cllr Jean Rigby said: "We know recycling causes confusion but the council have recently pout out new information leaflets which will hopefully sort out this problem."

Cllr Mahmood's report says: "We see an increase in informal council tax complaints. However there has been a significant decrease in formal complaints within the same area.

"During the reported year, the Council recorded 651 MP enquiries, an eight per cent increase from the previous year.

"There has been a 46 per cent increase in MP enquiries for Finance and Customer Services. These were predominantly around discretionary grants for businesses and self-isolation payments.

"We also see another 74 per cent increase within the public health department, in the main is attributed to Covid-19 enquiries.

"We have recorded 1,037 informal complaints for the period April 1 2020 to March 31 2021; which is a 25 per cent decrease from the previous year.

"Formal Stage One complaints have seen a 60 per cent decrease.

"The complaints team have recorded 22 non-statutory Stage One complaints compared to the 51 the previous year. Only four were upheld.

"The overall number of statutory complaints for children’s services (social care) has reduced from 88 to 59.

"The overall number of complaints for adult services has also seen a reduction from 51 on the previous year to 43.

"The complaints team received four requests for a Stage Two review for the reporting period, a 60 per cent decrease. Only one was upheld."