Marvin Rees gives 'unqualified' apology for waste collection issues in Bristol

By Estel Farell Roig

The city mayor has apologised for the waste collection issues currently being experienced in Bristol.

Yesterday (Tuesday, September 14), Bristol Waste announced the long-awaited return of garden waste collections had been postponed by at least another fortnight.

This came despite city mayor Marvin Rees saying at a council meeting last week that it was “more likely rather than less likely” that the fortnightly service would resume today – a full 10 weeks after it was suspended - because of Covid and a national driver shortage.

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Speaking during a press briefing this morning (September 15), Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees gave an "unqualified" apology for the waste collection issues currently being experienced in the city.

He added: "We are not happy about what has happened and lessons will be learnt from the management of this service during a testing period.

"Our commitment as an organisation, and the commitment of Bristol Waste, a company that we own, must be not only to be able to provide a good service when things are running well but to be able to provide a good service during crisis also.

"That has proved not to have been the case and people will learn why that has not been the case, and the service will be stronger in the future for those lessons being learnt."

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City council-owned Bristol Waste issued a statement on Tuesday saying the collections will not be restarting until at least the start of October and that it was offering refunds or discounts to frustrated residents, and even a £1,500 bonus to all new LGV drivers.

In a tweet, the company added that it had a current shortfall of 17 drivers resulting from “vacancies, lack of available agency drivers, and absence due to illness and Covid-19”.

Bristol Waste said: "Due to the continued and significant impact of the national driver shortage, Bristol's garden waste service will not be returning this week.

“In order to maintain the city’s essential refuse and recycling collections, the temporary replacement of the garden waste collection service with drop-off points will be extended.

“The situation is being constantly reviewed, and Bristol City Council and Bristol Waste Company will issue another update at the beginning of October."

The statement continued: “We are continuing to advertise for new drivers, and training up potential candidates. Where possible, qualified staff have been redeployed to support the collections service.

“We are also looking at incentives to recruit more drivers and retain the ones we currently have.

“We understand this will be disappointing for households that use the service. We’d like to thank them for their patience and understanding as we put our full effort into minimising any disruption."

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