Bin collections cancelled as councils hit by Covid staff absences

3 January 2022, 11:45 | Updated: 3 January 2022, 11:49

Bin collections have been disrupted in a number of council areas.
Bin collections have been disrupted in a number of council areas. Picture: Alamy

By James Morris

Bin collections have been cancelled in a number of UK towns and cities as councils are hit by staff Covid absences.

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It comes as concerns mount over the impact of the Omicron variant of the virus on the country’s workforce.

The public sector has been told to prepare for a worst-case scenario of 25 per cent of staff being off work through Covid infection and self-isolation.

And over the next couple of weeks, missed bin collections could be one of the most visible results of this up and down the country.

So far, UK councils which have confirmed cancelled, delayed or disrupted collections include Cheshire East, Birmingham, Chelmsford, Basingstoke and Tameside.

Meanwhile, a number of councils have said they are delaying garden waste collections in order to prioritise bin, recycling and food collections.

One of those is North Somerset, with Mike Solomon, a member of the executive who oversees waste collection, telling LBC today: "We haven't suspended any of the mainline services.

"We brought in a charge, just over a year ago, for garden waste and that’s the one that gets suspended first because it's the least of our priorities.”

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Elsewhere in the public sector, it was reported yesterday that United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust had declared a "critical incident" linked to "extreme and unprecedented" staff shortages.

And Swansea's Morriston Hospital said it could provide only a "limited service" in its emergency department.

In Yorkshire, the region's ambulance service also said that "the added challenge of Covid-19-related absence amongst staff... is having a significant impact on our frontline operations".

However, education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said today that the NHS was "very good at being able to move staff around" and insisted "there's nothing in the data" to suggest further coronavirus measures will be needed later this week.