Garden bin collections on hold amid self-isolation spike

GARDEN waste collections in Rotherham have been suspended with two-fifths of staff off work due to coronavirus rules.

Rotherham Council said brown bins would not be emptied for at least two weeks from today after large numbers of crew members had to self-isolate.

An RMBC spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately, as the number of COVID-19 cases rises in Rotherham, around 40 per cent of our staff members are currently off ill or are having to self-isolate in line with Government guidelines.

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“We have attempted to find temporary staff to cover these absences, however a national shortage of HGV drivers has made this difficult.

“We have made the difficult decision to pause the garden waste collection service. The suspension of the service is for an initial two-week period, which will be reviewed during this time.

“This will allow the waste team to prioritise general waste and recycling collections. The garden waste service will resume when staffing levels return to a sustainable level.”

Barnsley, Doncaster and Sheffield councils have already suspended brown bin collections after a similar spike in self-isolation cases.

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RMBC's assistant director of community safety and street Scene, Tom Smith, said: “Sadly, so that we can continue to provide general waste and recycling collections, we have been left with no alternative other than to suspend our garden waste service.

“Staff absences this week due to illness and isolation in line with government guidelines has reached a higher level than it has at any other time during the pandemic.

“We’d like thank garden waste service customers for their patience and understanding and pay tribute to our staff, who are working extremely hard to keep services going during this very difficult time.

“We hope to get the service back up-and-running as soon as we can and will keep those residents who have signed up to the service informed.”