Reading Borough Council has been forced to pause green waste collections due to the effects on staffing levels of workers self-isolating. The move is needed to focus resources and safeguard the priority collections of residual waste and recycling, including food waste collections, which are unaffected.
From Monday 19 July, garden waste will not be collected for a minimum of two weeks to allow the concentration of staff on essential waste and recycling services.
Subscribers to the green waste scheme will not lose out financially. Their subscription period will be automatically extended to cover any weeks missed.
In the meantime residents can book slots at the re3 centre in Island Road to dispose of their garden waste. re3 will be making more slots available during the period that the green waste service is suspended. Any visits must be booked in advance.
With over 500,000 people nationwide receiving alerts to self-isolate in the first week of July alone, many businesses and councils are suffering from staffing problems and service disruption. This continued impact of COVID-19 means Reading Borough Council is currently operating with a significant reduction in waste drivers and loaders.
Cllr Adele Barnett-Ward, Reading’s Lead Member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, said:
“We absolutely appreciate this is a busy time of year for gardeners and it will cause obvious inconvenience, but we are left with very little option but to focus remaining resources on ensuring residual, recycling and food waste collections can continue.
“Councils across the country are experiencing disruption to waste collection services caused by the increasing number of Covid cases and consequent rise in people having to self-isolate. In Reading, we are doing everything we can to keep essential services going for our residents and minimise disruption to collections.
“Pausing green waste collections will help our efforts to ensure we can concentrate on priority waste and recycling collections. So much has been going on behind the scenes to keep vital services going, such as working additional hours, moving drivers from other areas to work on collections, and redeploying office staff to support the frontline. I am proud of the efforts of the team.
“I would like to thank residents for their patience and understanding as we work towards resuming a full service to them as soon as possible, with garden waste subscriptions automatically extended to cover any weeks missed.”
If you are an LGV driver who wants to make a difference and is looking for local work with regular hours, you can contact Reading Borough Council’s call centre on 01189 373787.