The national shortage of HGV drivers and COVID-19 isolation requirements have compounded waste collection problems in the Folkestone & Hythe district. This has forced the council to take the difficult decision to agree to a request from its contractor to suspend temporarily the collection of garden waste.
Veolia - the council's waste contractor - advised that to prioritise clinical, food, waste and recycling rounds with reduced teams it would need to suspend the collecting of garden waste. On Wednesday (21July) there were 16 Veolia staff absent from work.
Councillor Stuart Peall, F&HDC Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Regulatory Services, Waste & Building Control, said: "I do appreciate the difficulties this will raise for some residents, but on balance the council needs to prioritise clinical, food, refuse, and recycling rounds in the circumstances we are facing.
"We have had assurances from Veolia that this action will result in a positive impact on the remaining collections and we will of course seek to recoup losses to the council from Veolia."
Residents who have signed up and paid for the annual service will receive a letter explaining that they will be offered a rebate for the loss of the garden waste service by the end of the financial year
Whilst garden waste is not being collected, residents should use the household waste recycling centres and appointments can be made here .
The council has been meeting regularly with Veolia after it became clear that new routes introduced in May were not working and there was an unacceptable level of missed bins.
Veolia is working on amending its new routes and has set up its own call centre for missed bin reports to take pressure off the council's Customer Services team.
In addition the council will be seeking financial recompense for performance clauses not met within the contract and to cover other additional costs.
Residents rightly have questions about our agreement to a request from Veolia UK to temporarily suspend the collection of garden waste. We have done our best to answer the most frequently asked ones below.
Why have garden waste collections been suspended?
Veolia UK asked to temporarily suspend the garden waste collection service on Wednesday (21 July).
This is due to a national shortage of HGV drivers and COVID-19 isolation requirements.
How long do you expect the suspension to last?
We are working to resolve this as soon as possible and keep the disruption to a minimum.
We will keep you updated as soon as we have any further information.
When can I find out more about getting a rebate?
We have had to act swiftly and are currently working on making the rebate as soon as is practicable in this financial year.
We will be in contact with those affected in due course.
What help is available for those who can't visit a tip?
We appreciate this decision may cause some difficulties. It is temporary and we hope family/friends can help in the meantime.
The most environmentally friendly thing to do for now - if possible - is to compost your garden waste.
Fly-tipping is an offence. Incidents will be investigated and further action taken where there is sufficient evidence.
Date published: 21 July 2021
Updated: 23 July 2021