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

9 June 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 ninth waste impacts survey.

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 1st June, with responding local authorities showing relatively little disruption to core collection services. Garden waste collections continue to improve with only 2% of councils reporting the service as unavailable, with the remainder experiencing reduced levels of disruption. 93% of councils are now operating bulky waste collections with 57% reporting a normal service.

Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) are back in operation for 99% of responding councils. 75% of these are reporting normal services or minor levels of disruption. which is a significant improvement on the 53% reported in the previous survey.

Social distancing, rather than staff sickness and self-isolation is now being reported as the most common reason for collection service disruption. Staff absences continue to reduce, with 96% reporting either no impacts or less than 20% reduction in staffing. 

Household waste collections are still reporting greater tonnages due to the increased working at home, while commercial collections are still greatly reduced.

Speaking on behalf of these key networks Ian Fielding, Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group said: “It is apparent that council waste services are operating at a new normal, with minimal disruption and most services running at almost normal levels.  Councils have been effective in prioritising resources at core services, and reducing levels of absence and disruption are enabling other services to be reintroduced.  

“As we all adjust to continued social distancing and the implementation of safe operating procedures, there is still some inevitable disruption to services. It is good to see how well waste teams are adjusting to the new working conditions and I would like to thank the public for their understanding.”

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