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Garden waste suspended

From today South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have taken the difficult decision to activate their business continuity plan and suspend their garden waste collections.

The councils’ bin crews will be prioritising the collection of food waste, recycling and general waste collections following government guidelines* in a bid to reduce the disruption to waste collections.

The disruption is due to the ongoing issues of a shortage of HGV drivers who are needed to drive the councils’ waste collection vehicles. This is a national issue, not just affecting the districts.

The situation does not look likely to improve in the next few weeks and so with a heavy heart we have decided to suspend the garden waste service for a month to allow the crews to prioritise food waste, recycling and general waste collections. This approach is line with government guidelines on the prioritisation of waste collections. We hope to be able to reinstate the service after a month and we will review the situation towards the end of August before providing an update. There is more information available for garden waste customers on the council’s garden waste page.

David Rouane, South Oxfordshire District Council cabinet member for Housing and Environment said: “After all the difficulties at the start of the year where covid and self isolation resulted in the garden waste service being suspended this is not where we wanted or expected to be several months later. However, the recent ‘pingdemic’ has once again led to a shortage of drivers, and this has been made worse by our inability train new drivers, because of a shortage of government test facilities, or to recruit drivers from abroad due to new rules introduced as a result of Brexit. The councils apologise wholeheartedly to garden waste customers but factors beyond our control have made this step inevitable.

“By suspending garden waste collections for a month should allow our crews to prioritise collections of food, recycling and general waste for every resident and mean they are not constantly trying to catch up, which is unsustainable.”

Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council said: “Many of our neighbouring councils have also taken the hard decision to suspend temporarily the garden waste service.

“Until it is back up and running again, people can take garden waste to the household waste recycling centres or they could, if feasible, try composting. There is advice on our website.”

Notes to editors

*DEFRA guidance on prioritising waste collection services