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Local Authorities publish 11th report into impact of Covid-19 on waste services

23 June 2020

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has published the findings from its 11th 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 15th June, with responding local authorities showing incremental improvements in all collections except food waste, which showed a small increase in disruption. However, almost three in four councils are operating normal levels of food waste collections.

The trend of increasing disruption to core waste collection and disposal services is slowing, with these services reporting less disruption than the previous week. Most councils say these services are operating as normal.

Bulky waste collections are improving, with 77% of councils now reporting that they are operating normally. However, there is still a high level of disruption to commercial waste collections, although the number of services operating normally has risen from 55% to 66%. 

There is an ongoing trend of low and reducing levels of disruption in landfill, energy from waste, mechanical biological treatment, in-vessel composting, anaerobic digestion, open windrow composting and transfer station operations. Some remaining problems persist with materials recovery facility operations, although this has improved slightly with 15% of councils reporting some level of disruption, compared with 18% in the previous week.

All councils are now providing household waste recycling centre services, with 74% of councils reporting that these are operating as normal or with only minor disruption compared to 59% in the previous week.

The effects of social distancing remain the biggest factor to service disruption for both collection and disposal services.  Levels of staff absence continue to reduce, with 20% of councils reporting no impact compared to 13% in the previous week.

Speaking on behalf of these key networks Ian Fielding, Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group said: “We are continuing to see incremental improvements and focus on core services across the country. 

“This is an ongoing demonstration of effective prioritisation and commitment of the sector to public services, and a continued willingness to tackle the job in hand effectively.”

The results of all waste surveys are available here.