GARDEN waste collections across the BCP Council area have been suspended until further notice.

The move comes due to the number of waste collection staff having to self-isolate and a national lack of available agency workers.

The decision by BCP Council affects all green waste collections in the conurbation and comes into effect on Monday, July 26.

Residents directly affected by the suspension from July 26 will be informed at a later date about alternative arrangements to make up for the loss of service.

In the meantime, green waste can still be taken to household recycling centres across the three towns for disposal.

Kate Langdown, Director for Environment, BCP Council, said: “Unfortunately the extent to which staff have had to self-isolate has reached such proportions that we along with many other councils in the country are now at the point we have had no choice but to take action and suspend non-essential green waste collection services. There is a national shortage of LGV drivers nationally and councils are competing with the private sector including supermarkets to find extra staff at this time.

“We have been doing catch up collections in recent days to deal with the estimated 200 tonnes of green waste still outstanding, but it is no longer possible to maintain this. It is also peak holiday season and many staff who have worked extra hours over the last year have leave booked. In addition, the heat has also had a detrimental effect on some of our lorries which are due for replacement and a number have had to be taken in for repair.

“Therefore, to maintain normal waste collections we have had to remove existing staff from green waste rounds to ensure that all other bins continue to be collected. It is not a decision taken lightly and we apologise for the inconvenience.”

The suspension comes into effect from Monday, July 26, and will be reviewed on a weekly basis