Waste collections delayed in Northampton and Daventry as shortage of HGV drivers bites

Staff working extra hours to make up for missed rounds

By Kevin Nicholls
Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 2:00 pm

Waste collections are being delayed in Northampton and Daventry as the national shortage of lorry drivers begin to bite.

West Northamptonshire Council this week warned residents that staff shortages are causing disruption to some rounds.

Staff are working longer hours in a bid to limit the impact and catch up with any missed collections.

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Shortages of lorry drivers is affecting waste collections in several parts of the country — including Northampton and Daventry

But Councillor Phil Larratt, the cabinet member for environment, transport, highways and waste, admitted: “National shortages of HGV drivers has been hot news in recent months and this is continuing to cause us issues — particularly when we have refuse and recycling vehicle drivers absent.

“We are working with our environmental service providers to remedy these issues and are having some success, though despite our best efforts we will still see occasional impact on service.

“We’re currently prioritising non-recyclable, food and garden waste collections which means there will sometimes be an impact on dry recycling.

“Our staff are working longer hours in a bid to limit this impact and catch up with any missed collections, all we can ask is that everyone bears with us through these difficulties.”

Shops, restaurants pubs and even sweet giants Haribo have all warned of supply shortages as a result of the shortage of HGV drivers.

A shortfall of HGV drivers has been triggered by new labour rules, post-Brexit immigration changes and the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Sky News, some local authorities have written to Home Secretary Priti Patel to share their concerns about the "deficit" of staff in waste collection across the UK.

There is now a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK, out of a pre-pandemic total of about 600,000, a Road Haulage Association survey of its members estimates.

That number included tens of thousands of drivers from EU member states who were living and working in the UK before Brexit.

Yet the estimated shortage was about 60,000 drivers even before Covid.

Waste collectors have continued working throughout the pandemic despite staffing issues caused by staff testing positive and, earlier this year, by many getting 'pinged' by Test and Trace.

That problem eased last month when the government changed self-isolation rules for those who have had both Covid-19 vaccine jabs.