West Berkshire green bin and food waste collections suspended for two weeks as crews self isolate
Green bin and food waste collections are being suspended in West Berkshire for two weeks from today (Tuesday).
West Berkshire Council said it had taken "the difficult decision" due to staff shortages caused by a number of waste truck drivers and operatives having been advised to self-isolate by the Track and Trace system, and the impacts of current nationwide HGV driver shortage.
The council said that suspending the garden waste collection service would free up more staff to cover household waste collections.
In a statement, the council apologised to residents for the inconvenience.
It said: "Our collection crews have been working hard to maintain waste services throughout the pandemic and we have worked closely with our contractor to ensure all other options have been exhausted before suspending this service for a short period.
"The limited number of staff still able to work are doing their best to keep these essential services going, but as you can imagine that has been made more difficult with the very hot weather we’ve been experiencing.
"By suspending the garden waste service, we can ensure that your rubbish (black bin) and recycling (green boxes and bag) continue to be collected as scheduled."
Green bin and food waste collections were suspended for two weeks in January to enable crews to catch up with a backlog of waste and recycling after Christmas and a number of collection crews having to self-isolate.
The national shortage of HGV drivers has been blamed on a combination of Covid-19 and Brexit. The pandemic has disrupted HGV driving tests and drivers have also had to self-isolate, while European drivers returned to their home countries and have not returned because of the hassle of additional bureaucracy.
West Berkshire residents currently pay £50 for their garden waste to be collected every two weeks after the council decided in 2018 it couldn’t afford to continue a garden waste service without a separate charge.