The private contractor who carries out the garbage collection for the community is struggling with staff shortages
Author: Eddie Bisknell, Local Democracy Reporting ServicePublished 2 hours ago
Last updated 2 hours ago
The Dales garbage disposal services have been missing pickups for more than a month and now the council is trying to put more money in to keep it going.
Derbyshire Dales County Council is again trying to raise more money to ensure private contractor Serco’s garbage collection services don’t collapse.
Residents in the Dales have been missing their bins on a regular basis for a month or more, the council says due to the lack of truck drivers and Covid isolation, and calls this an “emergency situation”.
The latest update from the council states that on Monday (July 19) alone, nearly 30 areas of the Dales garbage collection missed, including Wirksworth, Brailsford, Kirk Ireton, Shirley, Tideswell and Taddington.
The missed bins are believed to be mostly recycling pickups.
Council officials said: “Serco today reported additional staff shortages that they cannot cover due to the ongoing national driver shortage.”
Ahead of the weekend, the council said it would temporarily suspend its food waste collection service for three months from July 26.
Food waste should be disposed of with household waste while the “emergency measures” continue.
Despite the backlog in the collections, the council says no excess recycled material – material that won’t fit in your bin or sack – is collected.
The council says if four days have passed since your scheduled pickup and your trash can still hasn’t been emptied, it won’t be picked up until the next regular day.
It is said that “bring sites” will be introduced at hotspots in the Dales on Saturdays, where a garbage truck can be parked and residents can drop off excess recycling.
These measures can now be adjusted.
A crunch meeting will take place on July 27 from 6 p.m. to discuss waste and recycling services. On the table is a contribution to a raise for truck workers to encourage people to apply for and fill vacancies.
Plans to lease an additional garden waste vehicle and temporarily store garden waste are also being considered.
All of this comes within two weeks of the agency flatly declining a call from Cllr Peter O’Brien after an investigation into his “inadequate” garbage collection service.
The council had denied that the service was in a “meltdown”.
Cllr Chris Furness, chairman of the community and environment committee, had said:
“While progress is being made, there is currently no quick fix, but rest assured that we will continue to work hard to resolve this issue and return to a normal standard of service.”
The council has already given Serco an extra £ 250,000 to help keep the collections going during the lockdown – even though the garden waste service was suspended for four months last year.
Serco missed 450,000 pickups during the initial lockdown.
Last August, the Council gave Serco an additional £ 101,185 for six months to help hire temporary collection vehicles. This was due to production delays on a new £ 3.6m fleet paid for by the council – delays due to the pandemic.
At the time, Serco had seen profits jump 53 percent to £ 77.6 million – more than double the total annual budget of the Conservative-led council.
Taxpayers in the Dales have already been encouraged to pay an additional £ 1 million for the new contract with Serco, which began last August – a total of £ 3.1 million annually.
The council said earlier this month:
“The patience and understanding of the residents at the beginning of the pandemic, when garbage collection was interrupted due to staff shortages due to Covid isolation, was greatly appreciated.
“The personnel situation at our contractor Serco – partly due to a nationwide shortage of drivers and also due to new Covid isolations – is now just as acute as in the first months of the pandemic.
“The driver shortage is a UK problem affecting various contractors, agencies and many communities, including neighboring authorities across Derbyshire. Municipalities that operate their own waste disposal service are also affected.
“We are still working hard with Serco to address the issues, but we have to be open to residents if we admit that there is no quick fix.
“It is well documented that there is a desperate shortage of drivers nationwide – estimated at more than 70,000 – a situation that has been described by the Road Haulage Association as“ catastrophic ”.
“Covid-19 has delayed driver training and testing and it is a fact that some EU drivers left the UK as a direct result of Brexit. Further exacerbating the situation is the increased demand for available drivers caused by the recent reopening of the non-essential retail store.
“We sincerely apologize for any issues that are currently beyond our control. For the time being, please leave out all missed containers. “
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