Will Forster

Lib Dem Councillor for South Woking and Leader of the Lib Dems on Surrey County Council Learn more

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No garden waste collection until 2022

by willforster on 13 September, 2021

Last week, Woking Borough Council announced that garden waste will not be collected until 2022 due to a shortage of HGV drivers.

The service has been suspended several times over the summer and the latest hold on collections was due to end on 10th September.  However, the Council has now announced the suspension of the service for an indeterminate time, likely to run into 2022.

The Borough Council has advised that garden waste subscribers would be informed by letter and that they have the option to cancel and receive a pro-rate refund.  Subscribers will be compensated for missed collections, but how that will be done is not yet known.

The contractor Amey, who provide the service to Woking Council and other Surrey local authorities, are taking some action to resolve the crisis and are training nine new drivers, but this process will take time.

Anyone with overflowing bins or extra bags of garden waste can take their green waste to one of Surrey County Council’s Community Recycling Centres, but this is at an extra cost for those whose vehicle is a van, unavailable to those without a vehicle and may be challenging for older residents or those with a disability.

My Lib Dem colleagues and I are very disappointed that there will not be garden waste collections for the foreseeable future – but we are also annoyed about the poor communication and expectation management.

We have also had no update on the bulky waste collection service offered by the Council.  With that service unavailable, we are concerned that we may suffer even more fly tipping locally.

A number of factors have caused this crisis.  With the ‘pingdemic’ over and the summer holiday period ended, the lack of drivers is clearly impacted by a backlog of HGV tests due to covid – but it is likely those shortages could have been managed if we had not lost so many European drivers who were driven home by Brexit.

In terms of a way forward, Lib Dem Councillors have asked Woking Council for four things. Firstly, for residents to get one last collection of garden waste.  Secondly, for an update on the suspension of bulky waste collection services.  Thirdly, for older residents or those with mobility issues to be offered help at Community Recycling Centres, and the rules relaxed for those bringing garden waste in vans at the tips.  Finally, for the Council to provide information on reimbursement for missed collections promptly.

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