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Harsh weather hits waste collections

Bad weather conditions have again affected waste collections across the country, although councils and waste management firms seem to be more prepared this time around and are using modern methods to inform residents of disruptions.

Snow and icy conditions are forecast to continue to affect many parts of the UK through the coming week as Met Office forecasters warn of further snowfall mainly across parts of northern and eastern Scotland and eastern parts of England.


Aberdeenshire Council has said it will make refuse collections when it is possible. It told residents: “If we cannot reach you to make a collection, we will accept two extra black bags for collection alongside your refuse bin on the next refuse collection day.” However, it stressed that this was the only time that it would accept extra waste. “In the unlikely event that the weather forces us to miss two fortnightly collections, we will try to catch up on Saturdays.”

Meanwhile Edinburgh Council warned residents: “At the moment we are able to service household and trade rubbish bins and recycling boxes in the city centre and on main roads, but are unlikely to be able to get into side streets or housing estates.”

The North East

Gateshead Council told MRW that it will suspend collections for about a week. It is using Twitter and Facebook to keep residents informed. Gateshead Council neighbourhood services manager Louise Hayward said: “With continuous snow falls for several days we decided to suspend waste and recycling collections rather than leave residents wondering whether or not we’ll be able to empty their bins. We’ve now got around 400 staff and every available vehicle working to clear snow and we hope to resume collections again in the next couple of days. One of the problems we are having is that parked cars are making access to residential areas difficult for our ploughs and gritters preventing us from treating streets for our refuse collection vehicles.”

In North Tyneside, waste collections have been put on hold with workers being redirected to gritting and snow-clearing duties. Meanwhile Newcastle City Council has confirmed that refuse collections have been cancelled and further assessment of the situation will made on a day-to-day basis.

The Midlands

The Midlands, the South East and parts of southern England may see 2 to 5 cm of snow, the Met Office said.

Birmingham City Council told MRW that it does not know how it will respond to any adverse weather conditions until it knows how bad the situation is: “There is no guarantee that the weather will hit our services, but if it does we will clear any backlog. Last time, we had crews working over the weekend.”

Meanwhile in neighbouring Walsall the council suspended collections after snow and ice prevented collection vehicles from reaching four-fifths of properties in the borough.

Herefordshire Council reported that its refuse and recycling collection crews were out on the roads as usual despite the snowfall.

The South

South Bucks District Council reported that its five main refuse vehicles have been fitted with winter tyres and collection crews will receive crampons to wear over their shoes. 

Meanwhile, Cherwell District Council said it is keeping its residents up date through Twitter. CherwellRecycle is regularly updated with a host of issues to do with refuse, recycling and energy efficiency.  Councillor George Reynolds, portfolio holder for environment, recreation and health, said: “Obviously when there is bad weather people want to find out whether their recycling and refuse will be collected. This often leads to our switchboard being inundated with calls at a time when the service is under pressure due to staff being unable to make it to work. But with our Twitter account there is no need for people to phone us for those details, all they need do is keep an eye on our tweets.”

Even in the capital collections were being hit. The London Borough of Bexley suspended all refuse and recycling collections on Tuesday 30 November due to traffic and road conditions. It said priority would be given to catch-up waste collections.

In East Anglia, Norwich City Council said that while major routes are currently clear of snow and ice, smaller side streets remain icy and unsafe for dustcarts to drive down.

With more snow on the way, further disruption may occur to ensure the safety of people living in the city and the council’s collection crews.  


A Sita spokeswoman added: “Only our waste and recycling collections in Rochford, Kent and Calderdale in West Yorkshire have been suspended. Our contracts in Dover, Ashford and Doncaster are operating but with restrictions in rural areas. Where there are disruptions we will be putting on extra resources to clear the backlog and deploy addition vehicles.”

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