Waste collection crisis escalates

Bristol Waste has suspended its garden waste collection for 10 weeks with immediate effect as the national driver shortage and the continued impacts of COVID-19 mean it has significantly fewer drivers than usual.

There have been delays to waste collections for some weeks in neighbouring Bath & North East Somerset.

And today South Gloucestershire Council said it has been working with contractor Suez to catch up with missed collections.

In a statement Bristol Waste said: “A national driver shortage and the continued impacts of COVID-19 mean we are currently operating with a significant reduction in drivers.

“We’re doing everything we can to minimise disruption to collections, including working additional hours, moving drivers from other areas of the business to work on collections, and redeploying office staff to support the frontline.

“However, to allow us to maintain our essential waste and recycling services, garden waste collections will be suspended for 10 weeks, including sack collections, starting with immediate effect. Unfortunately, the shortage also means we are not able to return for missed garden waste collections.

“Details of discounts and refunds available for those affected by the disruption will be sent directly to subscribers. We are also working on an interim solution that subscribers will be notified of. Where possible, we encourage residents to compost their garden waste at home. You can find tips on our website.

“We hope these measures will ensure other work can continue as usual, but we ask for your support in avoiding putting extra strain on the services. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the issue.

“If you are an LGV driver who wants to make a difference and is looking for local work with regular hours, we’d love to hear from you.”

A spokesperson for South Gloucestershire Council told us: “While the national driver shortage has not yet significantly affected our waste and recycling collections, unfortunately there were delays to collections in some areas earlier this week. We have been working with Suez to catch-up with these collections and have been putting plans in place to minimise any potential disruption if there are any further problems.

“The crews may be working later in the day and at weekends to keep collections operating as normally as possible. Residents may also see different types of vehicle collecting their recycling on occasion – all recyclable waste that we collect will continue to be separated for recycling.”

Collections have been delayed in Bath and North East Somerset for some weeks now and the council has thanked residents for their patience.

As we reported in this week’s issue, the deputy leader of B&NES Council Richard Samuel has admitted that the authority may need to pay more to recruit bin lorry drivers to help tackle the shortage which is leading to missed waste and recycling collections across the district.

Speaking at a scrutiny meeting he said: “We have said to the chief executive this has got to be resolved because it’s leading to service failures in unpredictable ways in many wards and it is causing quite a problem. We cannot operate an important service like waste and recycling collection without a full complement.”

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