Somerset rubbish collections delayed due to lorry driver shortage

  • Watch Lucy McDaid's report

People across Somerset have seen delays in their rubbish being collected because of a shortage of lorry drivers.

The problem has been put down to EU workers leaving the UK and the effects of the pandemic. The recycling of residents in Langport hasn't been collected for a few days.

Bill Bradshaw who lives in the town said: "You put them out, you assume it's gonna go, it generally does to be fair, but as we didn't know, we're hoping it is gonna go on the new day, Thursday, but we shall see."

Mickey Green, Managing Director at Somerset Waste Partnership, warned disruption may continue over the coming weeks.

Up to 100,000 drivers are needed across the country to help deal with collection delays. Credit: ITV News

He said: "100,000 drivers across the country are not magically going to be found overnight, we're working really hard but I have to warn people there might be some ongoing disruption, but all the actions we're taking should make that less severe than it has been over the last few weeks."

Lorry drivers are not the only thing in short supply. Norseland cheese supplier in Ilchester has historically employed many workers from the European Union but has noticed a huge drop in applications. 

Clive Richer, Head of HR at Norseland said: "We've been looking now for about six to eight weeks and actually it has been a real struggle just to try and get people applying.

"There's the insecurity of people after Covid, and a number of other manufacturers have opened up in the area just increasing the problem, but a lot of it is we believe that due to in excess of a million people leaving the country and that extra available workforce just not being around anymore."

Elite Staffing Solutions say those looking for jobs have a lot of leverage in the job market right now. Credit: ITV News

Elite Staffing Solutions, a recruitment company in Taunton, says while businesses are finding it hard to fill positions, it is good news for job-seekers. 

The firm's managing director Emma Warren said: "Candidate is definitely king at the moment.

"They are driving the market. If you've got a strong candidate you can pretty much guarantee that you will place them in a role, it's definitely the clients that are losing if they're not acting quickly enough, or they're not paying the right salaries or they're lacking benefits."