The PC recently received the following communication from Somerset Waste Parnership, in explanation of some of the issues they have been having with collection schedules.

As you know, some waste collections have been disrupted in recent weeks. Our apologies if your residents have been affected; Somerset Waste Partnership is working hard with our contractor SUEZ to get things back on track.

The problems are caused primarily by a shortage of LGV drivers – a long-running national issue worsened recently by Covid-19 and other factors. Recruitment for drivers and other crew members is particularly tough in Somerset because of the many distribution companies in and around the county. There is no quick fix for recruitment, so unfortunately there will be further delays. Please bear with us.

We regret that with more than 350,000 waste collections every week, it is difficult to provide accurate, timely updates for your parish. Collection routes cross district and parish boundaries and progress can be affected by staffing levels, track and trace alerts, vehicle breakdowns and traffic. Thus, the impact in any area may well not be fully known until late in the day.

At present, by early afternoon we aim to provide district councillors with a daily weekday summary of any known issues that may affect collections. Where possible, this will include specific locations affected. The same information can be found on the SWP website (click the link on the front page banner). We also post information directly into Facebook community pages where possible. The website information will be updated if there are any significant developments, and additional postings made.

This system is not perfect, but we hope you understand that we are doing the best we can to share information quickly. We also appreciate that not everyone has online access, and anything you are able to do to pass one information would of course be much appreciated.

Collections have been more reliable this week, but we are still not where we want to be and are continuing to push for improvements. Crews will return as soon as possible for any collections missed, within two days if they can.

This has been an extremely demanding year for crews, who have worked long hours throughout the pandemic collecting heavier loads.

To help ease the pressure, we would ask that residents please:
· Go online to use the My Waste Services menu on our homepage to order containers, request an assisted collection, report a missed collection and more. (we have attached a flyer that you are welcome to share – digitally or in hard copy – which reminds people of what SWP-related tasks can be done online).
· Make use of recycling sites if a collection is delayed but waste really needs to go.
· If it is safe, crush, squash and flatten waste to save space and speed up collections.

We apologise again for the disruption and ask for your patience.