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Maidstone Borough Council blames 'staff shortages' for uncollected garden waste

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Garden waste collections have been suspended by yet another council and staff shortages have been blamed.

Households in Maidstone who have paid for the service were not visited on Monday or Tuesday this week, with Maidstone Borough Council saying it "will endeavour" to catch up on those properties this weekend.

Brown bin collections for garden waste have been suspended in Maidstone this week
Brown bin collections for garden waste have been suspended in Maidstone this week

MBC is the latest in a long line of Kent authorities to have its garden waste collection affected.

But waste service manager Graham Gosden insists the council has no plans to stop the service, for which residents in the area pay £45 per year.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause but would like to reassure residents that we do not plan to remove the garden waste bin service entirely but have had to reduce the collection rounds we provide because of the staff shortages we are experiencing at the moment," he said.

"This has affected properties we would normally collect garden waste from on a Monday and Tuesday of this week.

"We will endeavour to catch up on those missed across this weekend.

Maidstone Borough Council waste service manager Graham Gosden
Maidstone Borough Council waste service manager Graham Gosden

"MBC is doing its very best to deliver a normal garden waste service as the council understands the environmental importance that it delivers to its residents, not only with regards to how the waste is recycled through composting, but also the impacts of the carbon footprint if the service was to be removed altogether."

MBC says it continues to monitor the situation on a daily basis.

Garden waste collection services returned to normal today (Wednesday) and all other bin collections remain unaffected.

Last week, Swale council, which represents Sheppey, Sittingbourne and Faversham, and Dover District Council suspended their garden waste collections.

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council also suspended garden waste collections for at least four weeks in late July to free up staff to ensure food waste, recycling, refuse and clinical waste collections continue.

Recycling bin collections run by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council were also suspended for two weeks in June as the council's contractor, Urbaser, announced the delay because of a shortage in drivers.

Even then, after two weeks of suspended rounds, recycling bins in the area were missed again on the day collections were supposed to resume.

The garden waste service is meant to operate on a fortnightly basis across much of Kent, apart from in Medway where recycling, food and garden waste, and general rubbish is collected weekly on the same day.

Analysis by KentOnline has this year shown that, of all Kent councils, it is people in Dartford who have to pay the most to sign up to the service at £90 for the first year, while those living in Thanet have the highest annual charges to contend with.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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