Garden waste collections are set to be temporarily suspended across Hart from 11 October as a result of the national HGV driver shortage, to protect the core waste and recycling collection services.
Despite the council’s waste and recycling contractor Serco making every effort to recruit drivers, by introducing competitive salaries and enhanced benefits packages, there are still a number of driver vacancies not yet filled because agencies, who are also affected by this shortage, are unable to provide staff in a highly competitive and fast moving market.
Serco will continue to catch up on garden waste collections that were due during the week commencing 13 September to ensure that all customers have received one collection during this time.
All existing garden waste customers will be contacted by letter to advise them of the pause in service.
The missed collections will be added to customers’ accounts by the way of a 3-month extension (equivalent to 6 collections) to their service renewal date. However, it is important that customers renew their subscription to ensure that the missed collections are added. This is because extensions can only be applied to active garden waste accounts.
For customers who do not want to renew their subscription at the renewal date will then be entitled to refund for periods where the service was suspended during their subscription period in 2021 (a maximum of 6 collections). Customers who take this option will not be able to re-join the service until we have reopened the service to new customers. This has been temporarily suspended until we can guarantee the service delivery to our existing customers.
Cllr Alan Oliver, Cabinet Member for Environment at Hart District Council, said: “After reinstating the service four weeks ago, we have experienced driver shortages which have resulted in only 25% of rounds collected on some days. We have been working alongside Serco to promote local job opportunities; however, the national driver shortage has not helped the situation.
I’m pleased that we can offer customers a 3-month extension, or a refund if they don’t want to renew, as an apology for the disruption this has caused, and we will do everything we can in our power to get the service reinstated as soon as possible.”
The council will regularly review the situation with Serco and will provide weekly update via the website www.hart.gov.uk/garden-waste and its social media channels @HartCouncil on Twitter or @HartDistrictCouncil on Facebook.
5 October 2021