NFDC announces restart date for garden waste collections but have to stop other waste services as staff shortages continue.
New Forest District Council will restart the garden waste service for current customers from 13 September, collecting every four weeks. To allow for this, the bulky waste service for large household items will not take any new bookings until further notice, as the staff shortages continue.
On 19 July, the fortnightly garden waste collection service was suspended as the authority faced staff shortages, similar to many other councils in the country, due to self-isolation staff absences, and driver shortages.
Chris Noble, NFDC service manager for waste and transportation said, “The important thing was to get the black and clear sack collections done so we had no choice but to stop the garden waste collection service. Whilst it is good news we can restart from next week, we do continue to have severe staff shortages and are operating our waste services at around 60% of full staffing levels. But after eight weeks we know that garden waste needs to be collected. I would like to thank our customers who have been so supportive and understanding, and a special recognition to the waste teams who are working so hard and have pulled together to get the job done.”
The council will ensure that customers receive the number of collections they paid for in 2021-22 by extending the service further into 2022.
Chris said, “Since the garden waste service was initially suspended on 19 July, we have launched new recruitment campaigns and had new members of staff join our team. However, every day we are having to look at what we can realistically achieve with reduced staff available. We know that lots of other councils in Hampshire and beyond are in a similar situation. Project Integra (Hampshire’s waste partnership, of which NFDC is a member) is a signatory on a letter to government which outlines the problems that local authorities are currently facing in delivering frontline services”.
While the service gets back up to speed, NFDC are unable to accept new garden waste customers and no additional bags will be sold. This will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
The four weekly collections of garden waste, usually fortnightly, is likely to continue until Christmas, to give time for staffing levels to recover.
More information, including collection dates, will be included in a letter to be sent to all garden waste customers during the week of 6 September.
With collection of bulky waste suspended, residents can book a slot at one of three Household Waste Recycling Centres in the NFDC area https://www.hants.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling/recyclingcentres/book-appointment
There are also private companies who would be able to collect large household items. Residents must remember to check that any company they use is a registered waste carrier by visiting the Environment Agency website: https://environment.data.gov.uk/public-register/view/search-waste-carriers-brokers
There is information on the garden waste service on NFDC’s website at https://newforest.gov.uk/gardenwaste