ADEPT survey: 80% of responding councils report staff absences

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has published the findings from its 17th waste impacts survey, designed in partnership with key local authority network groups.

The survey has been restarted as the pandemic in early 2021 has resulted in impacts on some council waste services.

ADEPT has published the survey, which examines the impacts of COVID-19 on waste services in England, in collaboration with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the National Association of Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO).

This survey covers the week beginning 1st February and shows that 80% of responding local authorities are reporting staff absences, with a third of these reporting a reduction of more than 5%.

This is resulting in an impact on waste collection, with up to 4% of authorities having to suspend non-essential collections such as bulky waste or food and garden waste services.

The impact on waste services seems to be comparable to June 2020, when case rates were much lower

Up to 10% of authorities are reporting moderate disruption to core recycling and residual waste collections, but no councils responding to the survey have had to suspend these services.

There has been very little impact on disposal services and no councils are reporting HWRC closures as a result of the latest wave of infections.

Speaking on behalf of these key networks Steve Palfrey Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group said: “Although Covid infection rates were very high in early February, the impact on waste services seems to be comparable to June 2020, when case rates were much lower, reflecting the effective measures councils and contractors have put in place to minimise infection risks to staff and service users.

“Most core collection services are now operating normally, with 92% reporting normal services for residual waste and 82% for recycling.

“I want to thank officers for taking the time to respond to the survey and, of course, our teams who are working so hard to maintain these critical services”.

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