Home   Sheerness   News   Article

Swale council suspends Biffa garden waste bin collections in Sittingbourne, Sheppey and Faversham


More news, no ads

LEARN MORE

Garden waste collections in Swale have been suspended following a staff shortage, in part caused by drivers being tempted away by higher-paying delivery jobs.

Swale council took the "reluctant decision" on Tuesday due to a number of reasons including staff shortages caused by workers being off due to Covid-19 isolation and not being able to get replacements due to the national shortage of HGV drivers.

Brown bin collections for garden waste have been suspended in Swale
Brown bin collections for garden waste have been suspended in Swale

The council said that suspending Biffa's brown bin waste collection service across Sheppey, Sittingbourne and Faversham would free up more staff to cover rubbish and recycling collections.

It comes after it was revealed that Kent's ambulance service has called for the armed forces to help as it battles to run its 999 service in the face of acute staff shortages.

A Swale council spokesman said: "We have reluctantly taken the decision to suspend the garden waste collections for this week because we do not have the operatives or drivers to carry them out without impacting on household waste and recycling collections.

"Rounds had initially been postponed, as we hoped to be able to recover the situation, but now we are at the point where we need to suspend them.

"We have taken the decision as early as possible so garden waste subscribers know they should not put their brown bins out, and we will return for them in two weeks.

Cllr Richard Palmer. Picture: Swale council
Cllr Richard Palmer. Picture: Swale council

"Any garden waste bins that are missed this week will have their subscriptions extended accordingly.

"At present, next week’s brown bin collections are due to take place as planned unless advised otherwise, but we will of course continue to monitor the situation.

"Our available resources will now focus on continuing the refuse and recycling collections, and making sure that these services are delivered and any missed bins from the past week are collected."

"We apologise to the garden waste subscribers for the inconvenience," he added.

Garden waste can still be taken to Kent County Council's household waste recycling centres by booking a slot the authority's website or by calling 03000 41 73 73.

Biffa has reported staff shortages
Biffa has reported staff shortages

Swale residents pay £40 for their garden waste to be collected every two weeks.

Cllr Richard Palmer, the council's cabinet member for community, said it had been a combination of things that had led to the service being suspended.

He said: "There's a lot of things that have built up in combination that have tipped it over the edge.

"It's the summer months, and it always get bad in the summer months because of people going on holiday.

"But now there's a national shortage of drivers, so they can't be easily recruited.

'People are off work either because of Covid or they're having to isolate because they've been pinged by an app'

"Drivers are being attracted away by higher incomes for driving delivery vehicles - this is because of a shortage of drivers there.

"And then there's the 'pingdemic'. Recently, and I think it's happening everywhere, people are off work either because of Covid or they're having to isolate because they've been pinged by an app.

"If you can't recruit people, people are on holiday or are off sick, and agencies can't supply workers, then there's a problem."

He added: "It is a mess, it is unfortunate, but I don't see how it can be avoided.

"To stop the brown bin service was probably the right choice, because food waste and recycling should take priority – especially food waste as that could lead to a health hazard."

Read more: All the latest news from Faversham

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More