West Lothian Council cancel all blue bin collections amid Covid case rise and staff absences

All blue bin collections in West Lothian are being suspended after a rise in Covid cases sparked a surge in absences among refuse staff.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 4:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 4:03 pm

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Increased levels of Covid-19 in the local community have led to a significant number of staff absences, in particular a number of employees being advised to self-isolate. The level of absences means West Lothian Council does not have the resources to collect all 300,000 planned bin collections for the next two weeks.

This means all households in West Lothian will miss one collection, with blue bin collections resuming from Friday August 6.

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Blue bins will go uncollected for two weeks across West Lothian

The local authority insist that suspending blue bin collections will allow resources to be used to prioritise brown and grey bin collections.

In a message to locals, the council pleaded: “Please do not put your blue bin out for collection between Friday (July 23) and Thursday August 5. If your blue bin collection was due prior to Friday 23 July and is still outstanding, please leave it out until it is emptied.”

A West Lothian Council spokesperson added: “We regret that current staffing levels means we are unable to complete scheduled blue bins for the next two weeks.

“Under these challenging circumstances, we believe suspending blue bin collections for a full cycle of two weeks is the best and fairest option possible.

“Every effort has been made to maintain the service, including redeploying additional staff from other council teams to assist. Unfortunately, this will not be enough to allow us to clear the backlog of collections and maintain all scheduled bin collections in the short-term.

“We are aware of other councils and businesses having similar issues with staffing due to Covid-19, so we would ask West Lothian residents for their patience and understanding at the present time.

“In particular, we would encourage local people to continue the fantastic support they have shown to our dedicated collection teams throughout the pandemic, as they make every effort to maintain this vital service for us all.”

Residents are advised to compress the materials in their blue bin where possible to make additional space.

All brown and grey bins should be put out as normal and left out until they are emptied.

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