Residents wait six weeks for bin collection as driver shortage causes refuse delays

ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports on how bin collections have been impacted by the nationwide driver shortage

The waste industry has become the latest hit by the lorry driver shortage.

One insider has told ITV News that disruption to bin collections could last for years.

Our research shows it’s already having an impact in many parts of the UK.

As problems widen, sewage treatment could also now be affected.The same problem that’s left shop shelves empty is now leading to full bins - as the UK's lorry driver shortage hits waste collection across the UK.

We’ve spoken to one resident who went for six weeks without garden waste being collected.

Susannah Hickling, in Taunton, said local councils should have planned better to avoid such disruption: “A lot of this is about Brexit and we have known about that for years."

Susannah Hickling has not had her garden waste collection for six weeks. Credit: ITV News

In Somerset, they’re training dustbin loaders to become refuse drivers- but they can’t get test slots until the New Year and want officials to intervene.

On Wednesday, we learnt that the government will now take action to free up more test slots, with its plans expected within days.

Councils have said recycling rates will be affected. Credit: ITV News

Major refuse firms told us they now have an average 15% driver vacancy rate.Our research pinpoints more than 20 areas with disrupted waste services.Some had to temporarily combine recycling with general refuse, or suspend garden waste collections for periods. Some have warned households of delays emptying bins.

Refuse collection is just one of the services disrupted by the driver shortage, as Chris Choi reports. Credit: ITV News

Councils say they are prioritising to protect critical refuse services, but these problems could be far from over.

A spokesperson for the waste industry trade body, The Environmental Services Association, says it could be up to two years before the underlying problems are resolved.Sewage plants are also struggling to get a chemical they use to treat waste water - ITV News has been told the government was warned months ago by the chemicals sector.We now expect a plan for further action to address the lorry driver shortage later this week - but goods that come into our homes and waste that goes out are already being affected.