Published: 13:38, 16 January 2021
| Updated: 13:39, 16 January 2021
Christmas tree collections have been postponed as bin crews have been hit with Covid-19.
Canterbury City Council has announced the collections will not be able to start as planned next week, due to "the level of sickness and isolation" at its waste collection contractor, Serco.
A spokesman for the authority has described the pandemic as "the most challenging situation" waste collectors have faced in many years.
The number of staff currently off sick or in isolation at Serco has meant crews that would be responsible for picking up old Christmas trees across the Canterbury district have instead been redeployed to essential collections, such as household and clinical waste.
A city council spokesman apologised for inconvenience caused.
They said: "While we understand this decision will annoy some people, Christmas trees are near the bottom of the priority list when it comes to keeping waste collections on the road in an emergency situation.
"Other options for trees include booking a slot at the tip if you are able to or arranging collection by a private waste firm. If you choose the latter, make sure you use a licensed waste disposal company - check this on the Environment Agency website."
The tree collection service will be reviewed in a week's time.
The city council's spokesman added: "A decision on whether to go ahead with it will depend on whether there are enough staff to carry it out while also being able to run essential collections.
"We've said it before but it needs repeating - this is the most challenging situation with bin collections for many years.
"Everyone involved in the service at both the council and Serco is doing their best to collect as many bins as possible as close to the scheduled day as they can."