Published: 06:00, 15 September 2021
There is still no return date for the Folkestone district's garden waste collection service, which was suspended two months ago.
Driver shortages and issues over new routes meant that Veolia struggled to collect rubbish from kerb sides throughout the district this summer.
The ongoing problems prompted complaints from residents and apologies from both the waste contractor and the district council.
As a result, and to be able to focus on other collections, the garden service was suspended in July.
It meant 15,000 subscribers, who all pay for the service, were forced to dispose of their green waste elsewhere.
Although no date has been given for the re-launching of the service, it is believed it will be up and running in the next couple of months.
Folkestone and Hythe District Council also says the "collection of general waste and food waste has improved greatly" and that more work is being carried out to "ensure that recycling improvements follow".
Cllr Stuart Peall, cabinet member for enforcement, regulatory services, waste and building control said: "We apologise for the inconvenience that the continued suspension of the garden waste service in the Folkestone and Hythe district has been causing, particularly at a time of year when many of our residents have been busy in the garden.
"As a council we have been working with our contractor, Veolia UK, to restart the service for our 15,000 subscribers as soon as possible.
"We want this date to be soon but it is important that when the service re-starts it can be sustained and is not in danger of being interrupted again."
The so-called 'pingdemic' was blamed for some of the missed collections, which saw numerous drivers having to self isolate after being pinged by the NHS app.
But changes to the routes and collection days also created problems, with some roads being missed altogether.
Cllr Peall added: "When Veolia asked for the service to be suspended in July the company was experiencing HGV driver shortages.
"This was due to the self-isolation requirements resulting from Covid-19 together with the nationwide difficulty in recruiting new drivers.
"As Veolia has been trying to meet this recruitment challenge we have also been in contact with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to ensure that the difficulties faced by our residents as a result of this national shortage are well known.
"Overall Veolia’s collection of general waste and food waste has improved greatly and we are working closely with them to ensure that recycling improvements follow."