With the requirements for close contacts to isolate, as well as the national shortage of HGV drivers, rather than suspend collections for an extended period as some other areas have done, North Somerset is keen to review the situation on a daily basis and will continue to provide the garden waste collection service whenever possible.
Cllr Mike Solomon, North Somerset Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhood and Community Services, said: “Every day is unpredictable at the moment as we don’t know how many staff are going to be pinged by the test and trace app. This is making it incredibly difficult to plan each day’s collections. However, we do want to keep collecting garden waste on all days when we’ve got enough crews working.
“While I hope that our garden waste customers will be pleased we’re doing our best, I also appreciate it’s a more complicated position where each day will be different. That’s why we’re also committing to emailing customers before their collection is due when we know we won’t be able to collect their garden waste. This way our residents will know whether to put their containers out for collection or not.”
The council will email garden waste customers the night before their next collection is due if the crew shortages mean that they can’t collect households’ garden waste the next day. Because the situation may then change overnight, with more crew members being required to self-isolate, there may then be a need to email more customers on the morning of their collection day to let them know that the collection won’t be made that week.
Cllr Solomon continued: “This is the best way we can keep our customers up to date on the latest situation. The emails will be sent from ‘Waste Updates’ so I encourage all our customers to look out for these messages in their inbox. Anyone who doesn’t get an email the night before or on the morning of their collection should assume we’re planning to collect as usual.”
The council had to suspend garden waste collections for three days this week. Customers who were due a garden waste collection on Wednesday, yesterday or today will not now receive a collection until their next scheduled date. Tuesday collections were also impacted but crews were able to catch-up on these by Thursday.
The council holds email addresses for 94 per cent of households registered for the garden waste service as not all customers provided their email address when signing up. The website and social media accounts will also carry daily updates about the situation and residents are encouraged to look out for those too. Updates will be posted at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/waste as well as on the council’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Due to the current hot temperatures collections begin at 6am so customers should put their containers out by then to make sure crews can empty them
Cllr Solomon added: “I'm very aware that a number of customers will be frustrated that we are having to look at temporary changes to the service that they have only recently begun paying an additional amount for. We will keep the situation under constant review and are looking at ways we can redress any disruption to service our customers experience.
"I'm extremely grateful for everyone’s support during these difficult circumstances, particularly all the kind messages we are receiving every day for our hard-working crews.”