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

27 May 2020

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

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

This survey covers the week beginning 18th May, with responding local authorities showing sustained improvements with high levels of core collection service provision being maintained. Residual household waste collection services are provided normally or only subject to minimal disruption, with a similar picture for recycling.

Last week, garden waste provision increased to 96%, but about three quarters of councils are still experiencing some disruption. The availability of bulky waste collections continues to improve with 84% of councils now providing a service, while half of councils are now operating as normal.

Disposal services remain largely unaffected, with the exception of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). The survey shows that last week just 3% of councils were not providing any HWRC service. However, they remain subject to significant disruption with only 15% operating normally.

Staff absences – mainly due to self-isolation - continue to reduce, with 93% reporting that they are operating at normal staff levels, or have lower than a 20% absence rate.

Notably, higher volumes of household residual waste, recycling and garden waste are being reported, with nine out of 10 councils reporting an increase. 75% of councils operating food waste collections are reporting an increased level of food waste.

Other amounts of wastes are variable, except for commercial waste, where 95% of councils report a reduction. One in three councils report that they are collecting less than half the commercial waste than is usual.

Speaking on behalf of these key networks Ian Fielding, Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group said: “We are seeing many services resuming across the country, although there is some disruption as teams adapt to the new normal.

“97% of Councils are now providing an HWRC service which is a really positive step. I would like to thank all our teams for their commitment in these challenging times.”

The results of all waste surveys are available on the ADEPT website: https://www.adeptnet.org.uk/covid-19-waste-survey-results.