Main road litter picks and street cleans on hold as HGV shortage hits South Holland’s waste services

Litter picks along main roads and street cleans have been suspended as the HGV driver shortage has an impact on waste collection in South Holland.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones has said the shortage of drivers is now being felt with 84 complaints about waste collection having been received in one day recently.

He also told South Holland District Council that there’s currently 66 reported fly tips not having been cleared within the four day time scale the authority aims to act within.

He said a national shortage of HGV drivers meant that anyone with such a licence working at the council was being drafted in from other roles to complete the daily bin rounds in the district.

That’s led to the suspension of fast road side litter picks, the council’s road sweeper having not been out for a number of weeks and those that normally supervise the service having to help drive the bin lorries, Coun Gambba-Jones told fellow councillors.

The reasons for the shortfall of 60,000 drivers across the country according to unions have included Brexit, a lack of roadside facilities, long hours and poor pay, while more recently people having to self-isolate has added to the problem.

Coun Gambba-Jones said: “We rely heavily on agency staff to fill on some of the gaps we have.

“That’s impacting fly tipping and accessing in the timely fashion we normally do.

“The service itself has encountered some of the most significant increases in complaints to them in recent weeks, levels we haven’t seen for a very long time.

“We had 84 complaints in just one day. That’s unprecedented.

“The large road sweeper hasn’t been deployed for a number of weeks as that requires a HGV driver and they’re working on our refuse and recycling.

“That kind of tasks we normally do. We’re keen on high speed road litter picking being done but we’ve had to suspend that due to the shortage of personnel.

“The team is working all out to meet our criteria but it’s an uphill task at the moment.”

“The issue is not unique to South Holland. It’s across the country.

“We’re working as best we can and as quickly we can to work with these.

Last month The Voice reported that Coun Gambba-Jones had warned there could be a “degradation” of services due to the shortages, but that South Holland was attempting to respond.

He said: “We’re introducing a new training scheme and working with Boston College to fill these gaps and effectively grow our own workforce.

“In that way we don’t have to rely on agency staff.

“There are contingency plans in place and the guys are doing a good job.

“They must be coming in each morning with a sense of dread of how they’re going to achieve it each day, but they have done it.”

Leave a Reply