Cumbria Council suspends garden waste collections following Covid staff shortages

Cumbria Council suspends garden waste collections for two weeks following Covid staffshortages.

As coronavirus cases and the number of people self-isolating rise, Copeland Borough Council has announced temporary suspensions in green waste collections.

Shirley Procter-Dow, community services manager at Copeland Borough Council said: "We have very large numbers isolating either because they have Covid or have been in close contact with someone who has it.

"Coupled with 'normal' absence through sickness, annual leave etc, this is affecting our ability to complete recycling and waste collections.

"Suspending garden collections for a short time isn't something we want to do, and we'll be getting back to normal as soon as possible - our aim is to begin again in the week beginning August 2."

It comes as England lifts almost all Covid restrictions, and as businesses complaining of having to close premises or cut opening hours because of the number of people being told to self-isolate for 10 days after being in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Councils do not have a legal duty to provide garden waste services and were hit at the beginning of the pandemic, with more than a third of English councils suspending them.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: "Councils know how important waste and recycling is to their residents and have been working hard throughout the pandemic to keep these services running as best as possible.

"Local authorities and their contractors have a duty of care to their employees and must adhere to Government guidelines on self-isolating when staff show symptoms of Covid-19 or are in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

"While most councils have been able to keep services running, many could possibly face difficult decisions and must prioritise services designed to protect the most vulnerable in their communities."