Due to severe staff shortages, there will be a temporary suspension for all kerbside collections of household garden waste across the Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable area.
The collections will be suspended from today (July 21) for at least a week, so Central Bedfordshire Council and its waste contractor FCC can prioritise resources to maintain critical household waste collections such as clinical waste, residual waste (black bin) and dry recycling. This also means the council will not be able to collect the garden waste from the areas in the south of Central Bedfordshire that they were unable to collect earlier this week.
CBC says the situation will be "kept under constant review".
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It told the newspaper that there is a "national shortage of qualified large vehicle drivers", meaning that there is "a labour market pressure affecting the whole economy, not just waste services". An increase in staff needing to self-isolate due to COVID-19 is further compounding the issue.
Towns and villages affected include: Barton-le-Clay, Billington, Bushmead, Caddington, Chalgrave, Chalton, Dunstable, Eaton Bray, Eggington, Fancott, Heath and Reach, Hockliffe, Houghton Regis, Hyde, Kensworth, Leighton Buzzard, Linslade, Sharpenhoe, Slip End, Stanbridge, Streatley, Studham, Tebworth, Tilsworth, Toddington, Totternhoe, Upper / Lower Sundon, Whipsnade, Wingfield and Woodside.
During the break in service, garden waste can still be recycled at the council’s four Household Waste Recycling Centres which are open seven days a week from 9am -5pm, including Bank Holidays. Find out more and how to book a slot online at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/tidytipsResidents 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: “We are working closely with our contractor FCC to prioritise resources across the area and across different services as much as possible but unfortunately, we are experiencing staff shortages at similar level to the early part of the pandemic and have had to make the difficult decision to temporarily suspend garden waste collections in the South.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and ask residents to please bear with us at this difficult time.”
The council will keep this decision under constant review and update residents through its website: www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/waste-disruption