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Local Authorities publish 10th report into impact of Covid-19 on waste services

16 June 2020

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has published the findings from its tenth waste impacts survey, designed in partnership with key local authority network groups.

Working alongside the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO), ADEPT is monitoring the continuing impacts of Covid-19 on waste services across England.

This survey covers the week beginning 8th June, with responding local authorities showing core waste collection and disposal services are stable, but with increasing minor disruption to residual and recycling collections. Food, bulky waste collections and street sweepings services continue to improve, but commercial waste collections are still experiencing high levels of disruption with only 55% of councils reporting normal operation.

For landfill, energy from waste, mechanical biological treatment, in-vessel composting, anaerobic digestion, open windrow composting and transfer station operations, the trend continues to be low and reducing levels of disruption. Some remaining problems persist with materials recovery facility operations for 18% of councils.

Only 1% of councils are not providing household waste recycling centre services, but fewer councils report sites to be operating normally this week, with 42% reporting moderate or severe levels of disruption.

51% of local authorities are reporting social distancing as the main contributory factor to service disruption with the second highest – increased demand - reported as the main cause of problems by only 19%.

Speaking on behalf of these key networks Ian Fielding, Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group said: “The slight increases in disruption we are seeing in some areas corresponds to improvements in others, and shows that councils are effectively balancing available resources to cover service priorities. 

“Overall, services continue to improve incrementally as councils work out new operating methods. This is testament to the ingenuity of the sector, and the commitment of local government, our partners and our staff to providing high quality public services.”

The results of all waste surveys are available here.