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Local authorities publish fifth report into impact of Covid-19 on waste services

5 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 fifth waste impacts survey.

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

The results of this fifth survey for the week beginning 27th April, show that there continues to be a continued improvement in the provision of core services. However, there are reports of some local authorities (6%) experiencing difficulties with putting collected recyclable materials into the market due to limits on the amounts some ‘offtakers’ are able to accept.

This survey also asked local authorities about their plans to reopen Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs). Roughly 4 in 5 of responding councils (84%) providing this service have plans in place to reopen some of their HWRCs with 11% suggesting sites would be open within a week (i.e. by 7 May) and with a further 37%, saying they expected to reopen sites within the next two weeks (i.e. by 14 May).

The core collections services – household waste and recycling - are stable. 99% of responding councils are continuing to collect residual waste normally or with only minor disruption, with 97% for recycling collections. 80% of councils are operating fly tipping collections normally.

Speaking on behalf of these key networks Ian Fielding, Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group said: “Defra has published its updated guidance for HWRCs which is likely to see more sites open in the coming weeks, although Defra recognise that not all centres will be able to open at this stage because of the necessity for social distancing and minimising congestion. We will be closely monitoring this through our survey but it is clear that the safety of site operators and the general public must remain the overriding priority in this respect.

“I want to thank our waste services teams for all their hard work in keeping our essential services running.” 

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