Kevan has received an update from Durham County Council about refuse collection:
Dear Member of Parliament,
I hope that you and your families are well and staying safe.
I have just updated our County Councillors regarding waste services across the County (see below and the note attached). In summary:
The provision of our basic refuse and recycling services have been fully maintained, however in order to meet social distancing requirements, and manage some absence we have needed to provide extra resources, including volunteers from other parts of the Council and the 30 crew and 10 vehicles that would have been on garden waste collections have been invaluable to achieving this. The service morale has been bolstered by a lot of community support which is much appreciated by the crews.
We have had to re-think our garden waste collection service, which as you will know is a paid for service to over 55,000 customers. There is strong interest in this continuing, as residents who have gardens have even more time than ever before to do work in them. We need the on-going support of the garden waste crews to support the refuse and recycling collections so have developed proposals, to be widely communicated to customers to run the service on a Saturday and a Monday. This allows us to keep the service going at a time when we have spare capacity.
We are aware of a national debate and consultation through Defra regarding household waste recycling centres (HWRCs). At present the vast majority nationally are closed as visiting a waste tip is not part of the legal reasons that can be used for leaving your home. We will continue to monitor national guidance, alongside our contractor. We are preparing plans for when they do open as social distancing may be a challenge (not assisting people taking items from their cars, space on the walkways) as well as traffic management challenges, not just in limiting vehicles on a site, but tailback spill over to other highways, for what (from experience) may be very popular.
Finally when it does come to recovery I wanted to assure you that we are developing plans for assisting residents in coping with accumulated waste. This may be in various forms from HWRC opening hours, to community skips, to increased bulky goods collections, or a limited provision for excess side waste.
Hope this update is helpful. If you do have any queries please feel free to drop me a line.
Head of Environment
Neighbourhoods and Climate Change
Durham County Council