COUNCIL staff raked in more than £300,000 in overtime in a year, new figures reveal.

Almost half of the cash paid out by Test Valley Borough Council was to its environmental services department.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed £148,792.64 was paid to the department out of a total of £335,469.10 of overtime between November 2015 to November last year, around 44 per cent of the total.

The request was sent to the authority by Andover town councillor Richard Kidd, of Danegeld Close, who asked the council for a breakdown of overtime paid per department.

The next highest amount was for the communities and leisure department, which was given £34,141.58 in overtime.

When questioned on why environmental service had a significantly larger payout than any other department, Councillor Graham Stallard explained it was for “a number of reasons”.

The department covers a range of services including waste collection, street cleaning and grounds maintenance.

The portfolio holder for environmental services said: “The service incurs more overtime, relatively speaking, for a number of reasons.

“As well as employing more staff than any other department within the council, the service also carries out a range of duties that are delivered outside of core hours, including evenings and weekends.

“This work includes the collection of waste following bank holidays where teams are required to work on Saturdays to catch up; routine street cleaning of town centres at weekends, and grounds maintenance teams who cover a range of tasks related to sports activities, including football and cricket, which take place during evenings and weekends throughout the year.

“There is, of course, unplanned overtime where we simply have to get the job done.

“For example, if a waste collection team is running behind time, for whatever reason, we still have to complete the work and, as a result, do incur overtime.”