Recycling and waste services across the borough are being maintained and undertaken as quickly as possible, but still face some disruption whilst the council’s waste partner, Veolia, manages workloads with reduced staffing due to COVID self-isolation.
Collections are being carried out as quickly as possible, with crews doing additional hours and weekend work. Black sack and food waste are being prioritised, but some areas may have their recycling and garden waste collected later or the next day.
A national shortage of HGV drivers, worsened by the impact of Coronavirus also means there are fewer agency staff readily available to step in. Collectively, this has impacted on the weekly collections in the Borough, which were disrupted last week. Veolia is working hard to recruit and train new drivers, whilst also working to keep disruption to a minimum. Residents are being asked to be patient with the crews whilst they work through this challenging time.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic and a national shortage of HGV drivers means that waste collection services are being impacted. Veolia crews are working incredibly hard to complete our weekly collections for recycling, food waste, non-recyclables, and garden waste across the whole Borough, as well as our street cleansing services during a very busy time for the town.
“We would ask residents to please bear with the crews whilst they continue to do all they can to keep our streets clean and tidy. We ask that residents ensure that if their rubbish is not
collected by 7pm on their designated collection day to please re-present their sacks and bins by 7am the next morning. Please don’t leave it out overnight for the animals to spread it everywhere.
“Veolia has maintained their services throughout the last 18 months under considerable pressure due to the amounts we have been collecting. Many other councils across the country have not managed to do this.
“As it stands, all services are being maintained, but it is important we all work together to help the frontline staff that need our support in this challenging time. We will provide further updates as and when appropriate, through the local press, and also the council’s website and social media pages.”
Stuart Atkinson, senior contract manager for Veolia, said: “We currently have a small number of positive covid cases affecting our Southend-on-Sea operations, with a larger number being required to self-isolate in line with Government guidelines. This is changing every day and we are allocating our resources flexibly to ensure that services are maintained.
“I am very proud of our team members who are working harder than ever to ensure that all collections are complete. Residents can help by using their food waste bin or home compost bin. Keeping food waste out of black bags stops them being scavenged by wildlife and waste from being spread in the streets. We ask residents to bear with us if some collections take a little longer than usual.”