Council says Northampton food waste collections "now a priority" after weeks of pingdemic disruption

Veolia battling driver shortage, summer holidays and staff self-isolating

Thursday, 5th August 2021, 10:19 am

Food waste collections will be made a priority in Northampton amid warnings of more of disruption to council services.

West Northamptonshire Council says more dry recycling bins will need to be left out longer as contractors Veolia battle the pingdemic, summer holidays and a national shortage of truck drivers.

Residents in New Duston, East Hunsbury, Delapre, Briar Hill, St James, Upton, Nene Valley, Old Duston, Spencer, Castle and Upton have already been told their food waste may not be collected on Thursday (August 5) and Friday, joining thousands of homes in Northampton and Daventry affected during the last month or so.

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Council chiefs are warning of more disruption to waste collections in Northampton

But all food waste rounds across the town will be prioritised from Monday to avoid rotting food piling up in homes in the middle of summer.

West Northants cabinet member, Councillor Phil Larratt, said: “The warmer summer weather and possible further increase in temperatures in the weeks ahead has been a decisive factor in prioritising the food, residual and green waste collections for our residents.

"This will mean that some homes are likely to experience a delay in their recycling collections in the coming weeks but we would ask them to bear with us whilst we work through these issues.

“I would like to apologise for this ongoing disruption, which has been caused by a combination of issues that are simply beyond our control.

"However, we are doing everything we can to address this, working closely with our recycling and waste contractors Veolia to minimise the impact as much as possible on our residents and their collections.

“We will ensure regular updates on affected services are posted on our website and social media channels and would advise residents in the affected areas to leave the dry waste recycling — blue-lidded bins — out and we will collect them as soon as possible.”

The usual weekly food waste service will resume for all households as a priority from Monday although the council says there may now be delays to recycling collections for some households as crews work to catch up on their rounds.

They are advising residents to leave blue-lidded bins out if they are not emptied by the end of each day as crews will aim to collect them as soon as possible.

Additional recycling can be presented in clear sacks next to the dry waste recycling bins.

Some refuse collectors who are double-vaccinated have been exempt from needing to self-isolate if pinged by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of someone who tests positive for Covid-19 since July 23.

The government ruled these exemptions are only open to a “limited number of named workers” until rules are eased for everybody on August 16.

But Veolia admit the pingdemic is not their only issue.

A national shortage of qualified lorry drivers has also led to supermarket shelves being empty.

Contract manager, Keith Powell, added: "Our service has been impacted by the national shortage of HGV drivers — currently estimated at around 100,000 due to Brexit and the pandemic.

"We are actively recruiting and training new drivers, loaders, and a range of other roles to help ensure a stable workforce for the future.

“This is changing every day and we are allocating our resources flexibly to ensure that services are maintained.

“I am very proud of our team members who are working harder than ever to ensure that all collections are complete, and we ask residents to bear with us during this difficult time.”