Published: 15:55, 23 July 2021
| Updated: 19:53, 23 July 2021
Two councils have suspended garden waste collections across Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge from Monday, to free up staff to ensure that food waste, recycling, refuse and clinical waste collections continue.
The authorities said it was a "proactive decision" to temporarily suspend garden waste collections to ensure essential services were maintained.
Both boroughs use Urbaser as their waste contractor and the company has struggled to provide a full service since it took over the contract from Biffa in March 2019.
In recent times, the contractor has become even more stretched by a national shortage of HGV drivers brought on partially by staff having to isolate because of Covid.
The suspension of garden waste collections is expected to be for at least four weeks.
Cllr Tom Dawlings, the leader of Tunbridge Wells council said: "I apologise to all residents affected by this and thank them for their patience. I can assure residents that this was not a decision that was taken lightly, but it does mean we can prioritise other collections."
Cllr Matt Boughton, the leader of Tonbridge and Malling, said: "We are very sorry to have to suspend garden waste collections, which we recognise will inconvenience many residents.
"However our priority must be to utilise the resources available to reduce delays in collecting general waste and recycling.
"Subscriptions will be suspended and although the suspension is for four weeks, we will re-introduce garden waste collections as soon as possible."
The councils have written to all garden waste subscribers to advise them.