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Redditch Borough Council have taken the difficult decision to suspend garden waste services temporarily, to strengthen the delivery of their core waste service.

The garden waste service will be postponed for a period of 4 weeks, the equivalent of two collections, from Tuesday 12 October, so that crews can continue to maintain domestic waste and dry recycling services.

Although the vaccination programme has provided much needed resilience for the crews, the service is still facing disruption due to the need for staff to isolate where required, and usual absences due to the heavy physical nature of the work.

As a result, crews who would normally deliver the garden waste services will be utilised to help maintain staffing levels for grey and green collections to ensure continuity in these priority services.

In addition to the garden waste suspension, during the downtime the Environmental Services Department will be recruiting extra staff and arranging for additional agency staff. This will ensure the reinstatement of the garden waste service, reduce the risk of future disruption, and ensure adequate staffing to maintain the service throughout the winter.

Residents do not need to worry about what to do with their garden waste as the service will be extended through December so that all 20 of the paid-for collections will be honoured. The council will be writing to all garden waste customers shortly to advise of the details of the postponement.

Leader of Redditch Borough Council, Cllr Matt Dormer, said: “Local authorities around the country are having to make difficult decisions in the wake of the pandemic to ensure the resilience of vital services. We have explored all possible options but without intervention now the service is at high risk of failure, so this is not a decision we have made lightly. We are very sorry for the inconvenience it will cause to our garden waste users, but this minor suspension will mean longer term stability for every resident.”

Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services, Cllr Brandon Clayton, said: “Even with staff shortages, our crews have worked tirelessly to keep our waste collection services going throughout the pandemic, with little to no disruption to any of our residents. I cannot thank them enough. Thank you to all our residents for the understanding and support they have given our crews and staff during what has been and continues to be a difficult and unpredictable time.

“If our core service failed, it would cause a lot more problems for a lot more people. We do not want to suspend garden waste, but this solution is the lesser of two evils. A small break in the service will allow us to regroup, build resilience and ensure the wellbeing of our staff. We are very sorry for any inconvenience it may cause.”

The council will continue to keep the website and social media pages updated regarding the status of the services, and although no further disruption is expected after this date, residents are advised to check one of these channels prior to putting bins out on the first scheduled collection after this suspension period.