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

19 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 seventh 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 11th May, with responding local authorities showing continued improvements and only low levels of disruption across all core household waste collection services. Household waste services are subject to normal service or minimal disruption, with a similar picture for recycling.

Last week, 46% of responding councils reported that their Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) remained closed (from 86% for w/c 4th May), but almost all of them reported significant levels of disruption. The survey found that almost all local authorities expected to have opened about 60% of their HWRCs by the end of this week, with more openings planned throughout May.

There has been a notable change to food waste collections with 90% of responding councils reporting collections operating normally, up from 68% in the previous survey. Similarly, only 22% have not resumed bulky waste collections. 75% of councils are operating garden waste collections as normal, with only 8% not operating that service.

Most local authorities are reporting reduced staff numbers, mostly due to self-isolation (56%), but the impact of this is reducing, as indicated by the continuing improvement in services. Social distancing continues to affect disposal services, with 40% reporting this as a cause of disruption.

Speaking on behalf of these key networks Ian Fielding, Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group said: “The opening of HWRCS continues across the country with varying levels of disruption as we work to maintain the safety of our teams and the general public.

“That so many services are returning to normal levels or with minimal disruption, and that we can see improvements week on week, is encouraging. Once again, I would like to thank our teams for their continued hard work in extremely difficult circumstances.”

The results of all waste surveys are available on the ADEPT website: