Survey launched to establish impact of Covid-19 on waste services

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has today (31 March) launched an online survey for local authorities across England to establish the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on waste and recycling services.

Responding to a request from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), ADEPT created the survey in partnership with the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO) to gather data on the impact of the coronavirus on council services.

Recycling boxThe Covid-19 outbreak has caused significant disruption across society, with waste and recycling services no exception. While waste operatives have been deemed ‘key workers’ by the government, allowing them to continue working during the government lockdown, many councils have begun to reduce their waste and recycling services and waste management companies have swiftly devised contingency plans in the event of mass staff absences due to illness.

As waste operatives continue to go to work, concerns have arisen over their safety, while a joint statement from key figures in the waste sector called on the public to help prevent transmission of the virus to waste workers and the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum (WISH) published draft guidance on reducing the risks of transmission in a waste management context.

Commenting on the survey, Ian Fielding, Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group said: “At present, many local authorities are operating their waste and recycling services as normal, but we recognise that the situation may change quickly.

“We know that everyone is hard pressed, so the survey is simple and will only take a minute to complete. It has been designed to provide a snapshot and captures valuable information on a range of services, including domestic collections, recycling centres, transfers stations and energy from waste facilities, and records the level of impact on each.

“The data we collect will be invaluable to Defra and the waste sector as we manage the inevitable disruption to normal services that will be caused by Covid-19. At first we will be asking for weekly data but we may increase the frequency as necessary to ensure we get a good picture of the status of waste services across the country ”

Local authorities across England will shortly receive emails from the survey groups detailing how they can access the survey and what information they are being asked to provide.

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