The first results from an ADEPT online survey for English local authorities to establish the impact of Covid-19 on waste and recycling services show the majority of services are continuing, but certain services such as garden and bulky waste collections have been hard hit.
The trade union Unite has confirmed that Wirral refuse workers voted in favour of strike action in a pay dispute with waste management company Biffa last Thursday but a walkout is postponed amidst the current coronavirus crisis.
The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has launched an online survey for local authorities across England to establish the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on waste and recycling services.
With waste workers deemed ‘key workers’ and essential to keeping public services running, leading industry associations have raised concerns over how to keep waste operatives safe during the coronavirus outbreak.
The UK waste sector has issued a joint statement to the public urging residents to follow government advice on managing their household rubbish to minimise the spread of coronavirus to waste workers and warning of emergency service changes.
The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has welcomed the government’s “pragmatic” decision to suspend MOT testing for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), including refuse collection vehicles, for three months during the coronavirus outbreak.
Waste sector workers should be designated as “key workers” so that they can gain access to childcare and continue to perform vital waste service roles during the coronavirus outbreak, says the Environmental Services Association.
Derby City Council has announced that it will be suspending its garden and food waste collections in light of the coronavirus outbreak, with general waste and dry recycling collections expected to be disrupted in the ‘coming weeks and months’.
Local authority waste services would likely be stripped back in the event of mass illness amongst waste collection staff caused by coronavirus, but services are well prepared for eventual disruption, says Lee Marshall, CEO of LARAC.