The temporary pause to the garden waste service is coming to an end in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse very soon, with collections getting underway for some residents in the districts as early as next week.
The service was paused to ensure rubbish, recycling and food waste collections weren’t affected during the ongoing and well documented national shortage of HGV drivers. The driver shortage is still an issue for the councils’ waste contractor, Biffa, but the council has agreed a new temporary arrangement for garden waste collections that requires fewer drivers, which means Biffa can resume the service sooner.
To make up for the disruption to the service the council will be extending customers’ current subscription to the service by three months – they will do this by delaying the collection of the customers’ next Direct Debit payments by three months.
The temporary arrangement means that fortnightly garden waste collections will change to take place every four weeks, but subscribers to the service will be able to leave twice as much garden waste out as normal. This temporary arrangement will be reviewed at the end of October to see if normal service can resume.
Customers will still get their brown bins emptied on the same day of the week as normal. If, for example, a customer’s bins are usually emptied on a Monday, their brown bin will still be emptied on a Monday under a new temporary garden waste timetable, but they will be emptied once every four weeks, instead of every two weeks.
The councils are sending out more than 50,000 letters and emails this week to their garden waste customers explaining the situation in more detail, along with a copy of the temporary timetable. The timetable can also be found on dedicated website pages for garden waste customers, along with a more detailed version of the timetable.
Garden waste will be collected in the same weeks as recycling as normal. This means garden waste collections will restart in some parts of the Vale on 27 September and in some parts of South Oxfordshire on 4 October.
The webpages providing more details are:
* southoxon.gov.uk/gardenwastecollectionchanges <https://www.southoxon.gov.uk/south-oxfordshire-district-council/recycling-rubbish-and-waste/garden-waste/gardenwastecollectionchanges/>
* whitehorsedc.gov.uk/gardenwastecollectionchanges <https://www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/vale-of-white-horse-district-council/recycling-rubbish-and-waste/garden-waste/gardenwastecollectionchanges/>
Any residents who do not wish to renew their current subscription, will continue to receive garden waste collections for three months after the subscription was originally due to end.
Food waste collections will continue to take place weekly, and recycling and rubbish collections will continue to take place fortnightly as normal.
Councillor Catherine Webber, Vale of White Horse District Council cabinet member for Climate Emergency and the environment said; “We are very pleased to have found a solution that means garden waste collections can start taking place again very soon.
“We appreciate and understand that this hasn’t been the service our customers have come to expect, and we do apologise sincerely for the disruption, but we’re also happy that suspending garden waste collections has prevented disruption to the other household waste collections – something with which councils elsewhere are struggling.”
Cllr David Rouane South Oxfordshire District Council cabinet member for housing and environment said: “We want to thank our garden waste customers once again for their patience and understanding and apologise once again for the disruption. We believe that the temporary arrangement is a good way of getting the garden waste service up and running sooner rather than later, while Biffa continues to look for ways to address its driver shortage.
“The decision to suspend garden waste collections was difficult, but I think it was right to protect the other household collections from disruption, especially food waste. I’m happy we’re able to make it up to our customers by extending their subscriptions by three months so that no one will be out of pocket.”