Suspension of green bin collections extended.
Collections of green bins will not resume until March, South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has confirmed.
Collections of green waste were suspended as usual in December and January, to allow crews to concentrate on the grey bin and recycling collections which are always very busy over Christmas and into the New Year.
Green waste collections were scheduled to re-start in the week commencing 15 February, but due to ongoing staffing pressures caused by Covid the council says it is now necessary to extend the green waste suspension for at least another two weeks.
An SLDC spokesperson explained: “We will review the situation every two weeks and hope that we can start the green collections in the week beginning 1 March, but that is very much dependent on the staffing situation improving by then.
“We currently have a number of our depot crew either shielding, self-isolating or off with Covid and we know that we won’t be in a position to resume green bin collections next week without risking an impact on the general waste (grey bin) and recycling collections.
“So far this winter we’ve managed to maintain the grey bin and recycling collections, although we have had quite a bit of weather-related disruption, but trying to re-introduce green collections next week would be a stretch too far.
“As soon as the staffing situation improves and we can safely reintroduce the green collections then we will be doing so.
“In the meantime, householders are asked to not put their green bins out for collection and if they do have green waste to either store it in the green bin until collections resume or dispose of it at their local household waste and recycling centre.’’
Green waste collections were suspended in April last year in response to reduced staffing levels due to Covid restrictions, but were reintroduced on a monthly basis from May and a full fortnightly collection resumed in September.
Councillor Philip Dixon, SLDC’s portfolio holder for Customer and Commercial Services, said: “We know that residents have been hugely supportive of our crews’ efforts throughout the pandemic and they’ve been able to maintain the key grey waste and recycling collections without too much disruption.
“But our depots have also been affected by Covid. At any time a positive test for one of our staff could mean the rest of the crew having to self-isolate and their vehicle being quarantined for 72 hours for deep cleaning. Needless to say, a couple of those can cause real disruption to collections, often at short notice, and that can play havoc with our day-to-day planning.’’
Team Leader Tony Jameson at the council’s Canal Head depot in Kendal added: “Weekly collections to 56,000 households takes a bit of organising at the best of times and we’re proud of our overall record of making 99% of collections on the scheduled day.
“It isn’t unusual at this time of year for us to have a few logistical headaches to contend with, usually due to the weather, and this year has been no exception with some very challenging conditions in recent weeks.
“On top of these annual weather issues we now have the difficulties of Covid to contend with, which has made staffing levels unpredictable.
“We have been drafting in depot managers and colleagues from street sweeping duties to make-up crews to keep the collection services running and to put on extra weekend shifts to catch up on any missed collections.
“Extending the suspension on green waste collections for a few more weeks is part of our efforts to make sure we’re doing everything we can to protect and maintain the statutory grey bin waste and recycling collections.
“We realise this isn’t ideal if you have garden waste to get rid of, but we’d like to thank everybody for their patience and cooperation at this difficult time and to reassure that we will be reviewing the situation. As soon as staffing levels allow we will be reintroducing green waste collections.
“Please keep checking our website and social media for the latest updates on your collection service and details of when green collections will resume.’’
For more information, please contact the SLDC Communications Team on 01539 793300