Due to severe staff shortages, there will be a temporary suspension for all kerbside collections of household garden waste across all of Central Bedfordshire until further notice.
Yesterday (July 21), the suspension was announced for the south of Central Bedfordshire; however, it has now been extended to the whole of the area.
Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) and its waste contractor FCC are prioritising collection crews and drivers to ensure critical household waste collections such as clinical waste, residual waste (black bin) and dry recycling collections are unaffected.
CBC said that the staff shortages are due to a "national shortage of qualified large goods vehicle drivers", which is "affecting the whole economy, not just waste services". An increase in staff needing to self-isolate due to COVID-19 is further compounding the staffing issues.
Garden waste can still be recycled at any of the Council’s four Household Waste Recycling Centres which are open seven days a week from 9am -5pm, including Bank Holidays. Additional appointment slots have been added to help residents.
Residents with enough space in their gardens are all encouraged to home compost their garden waste. Home composting is an excellent way to dispose and reuse garden waste.
Cllr Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services said: “Despite our best efforts to keep garden waste collections going for as many people as possible, unfortunately, we are experiencing staff shortages at similar level to the early part of the pandemic and we need to prioritise the more critical collections like everyone’s black bins.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and ask residents to please bear with us at this difficult time. I realise this will be disappointing for many residents and would like to assure them we are working closely with our contractor and as soon as we can resume collections, we will but at this stage it’s not possible to say when.
“I would encourage residents with garden waste to make use of our four tidy tips. We’ve added additional appointment slots to accommodate the extra demand.”
The council will keep this decision under constant review and update residents through its website.