• Jo Appleford-Cook

Bulky waste and garden waste services to resume

Some waste and recycling services in Basingstoke and Deane are set to resume from next week as staffing levels begin to stabilise following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Bulky waste and garden waste collections will be reintroduced in phases as part of a plan agreed by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Hart District Council, working with bin contractor Serco.

The staggered approach will see those services requiring the fewest staff brought back online first to ensure the existing waste, recycling and clinical waste services can be maintained for the duration of the pandemic.

Waste collections, which were reduced to a fortnightly collection on Monday 20 April and have the biggest impact on staffing, will remain on the current collection schedule until both the council and Serco are confident the weekly service can be sustained by the crews during the pandemic.

Bookings for the council’s bulky waste collection service will go live on Tuesday 26 May, with collections starting the following week. Residents can request a booking online at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/bulkywaste Deliveries of bins and glass containers to residents who have requested them, will also start from this date.

Following the suspension of the service in March, garden waste customers will see a return to their fortnightly collection service from mid-June. All existing customers will receive a letter advising them of the start date and information regarding the extension of their annual subscription. No new customers can be accepted to the service at this time, but this will be reviewed.

Monitoring of the services and staffing numbers affected by self-isolation will continue to take place. If a reliable service cannot be maintained or if waste, recycling or clinical waste services are affected, these services could be suspended again.

Cabinet Member for Environment and Enforcement Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “During this crisis we have had to take difficult decisions to suspend or reduce services including bulky waste and garden waste collections to protect our bin crews, lower the risk of spreading the virus and allow our crews to focus all their efforts on delivering a reliable and sustainable waste, recycling and clinical waste service for the duration of the pandemic.

“We have been closely monitoring staffing levels and planning how we can resume these services for our residents. We have now set out a phased approach for the reintroduction of services, bringing back those requiring fewer crews first to cope with fluctuations in staffing caused by periods of self isolation.

“We have to take a cautious approach to ensure we can continue to deliver our existing core waste, recycling and clinical waste services. We are not yet in a position to reinstate our weekly waste collection but are monitoring this closely and will restore this service as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Cllr Eachus said: “This has been an incredibly challenging time for everyone and I would like to thank our bin crews again for their tremendous hard work during this crisis. I would also like to thank our residents for their understanding and ongoing support and apologise for the disruption to our services during this time. I am pleased we are in a position to bring back most of the services that our residents really value and this will be a huge relief to many I am sure.”

For more information on the services and frequently asked questions visit https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/covid-19-bins-and-recycling People can sign up to our residents’ eNewsletter at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/signup and follow @BasingstokeGov on Facebook or Twitter.

Krissy Lloyd