What does HGV driver shortage mean for Suffolk bin collections?

The lorry driver shortage has caused some problems for bin collections across Suffolk

The lorry driver shortage has caused some problems for bin collections across Suffolk - Credit: ARCHANT

Some bin collections across Suffolk have been delayed as councils face a shortage of lorry drivers.

At least 18 councils across the UK are said to be experiencing problems collecting bins, due to a shortage of HGV drivers caused by the pandemic and Brexit.

West Suffolk council is recruiting for binmen to help combat the problem.

A spokesman said they had experienced some disruption to bin collections "here and there", but said they were attempting to keep it to a minimum.

He added: “We are continuing to deliver services and are actively working to recruit to our West Suffolk team.”

A spokeswoman for Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils said: “Thankfully, our services haven’t been significantly affected by these shortages at this time.

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"However, like many other sectors across the UK who rely on HGV drivers, we are not immune, are working closely with our partners, and would welcome Government support to help improve the national shortage.

“Our crews work incredibly hard to collect over 80,000 bins every week, and we are grateful to our residents for their patience and mindfulness of the current national situation.

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"Where we do have any delays – we will always return to collect missed bins as soon as possible.”

A spokeswoman for East Suffolk Council said: “East Suffolk Council relies on a team of HGV drivers to be able to carry out important tasks such as refuse collection. Most of those drivers are employed by partner organisations.

"We are aware of the issues relating to recruiting HGV drivers, and have discussed this with our partners.  

 “At present, we are not facing staff shortages due to the pressures seen elsewhere in the country. No services are being impacted in East Suffolk. However, we continue to monitor the situation and will be ensuring that our partners have plans for recruitment and retention of HGV drivers – and for all staff – over the next 12-18 months. 

 “We review salaries and terms of employment to make sure that we are offering attractive packages in what is a very competitive market.” 

However, a spokesman for Ipswich Borough Council said they did not anticipate any problems with bin collections as a result of the HGV driver shortage.

He said: "Ipswich Borough Council continues to provide a full refuse collection service and to date has not had any service interruptions because of any shortage of drivers."

Elsewhere in the country, council leaders have penned a letter to the Home Secretary.

The letter read: “At the time of writing, North Devon Council are attempting to fill seven vacancies, Torbay Council eight vacancies, and Teignbridge Council 10 vacancies.

“This equates to approximately 20% of the HGV workforce in driver vacancies and it is proving very challenging to fill this resourcing gap given the dynamics of this labour market."

It went on to state that the councils wanted rules to be slackened making it easier for lorry drivers to immigrate, in an attempt to ease the shortage.

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