Current service update

Current status

  • The Garden Waste collection service in Elmbridge is currently suspended for the foreseeable future. Full details below.
  • Currently we are not accepting new subscriptions; it may not be possible to re-join the service at a later date.
    Full information on ending your garden waste subscription can be found at the bottom of of this page.

19 January 2022: Ad hoc collection update

We had wanted to provide a more positive update early in 2022, giving details on the resumption of the Elmbridge garden waste collection service. However, we have not seen a significant improvement in the availability of HGV drivers, despite our contractor’s on-going efforts and therefore we cannot fully reinstate the service at this time. 

On a positive note, what we can tell you is that we will be able to run an ad hoc garden waste collection service at the at the end of January / beginning of February.  The service will run on the week commencing 31 January and 7 February. Garden waste customers will be contacted with their specific collection date.

We appreciate this is not the update our customers wanted and that it is frustrating not to have a date for the full restart of the garden waste collection service. We are continuing with our efforts to recruit and retain drivers to allow us to once again deliver a robust and efficient garden waste collection service in Elmbridge.

As always, we thank you for your patience and understanding. This was a difficult decision but one we felt necessary in order to protect the core waste collection services in the borough.

Our garden waste webpages have information on everything we are doing to increase the numbers of HGV drivers, as well as details on how customers can dispose of your garden waste while your regular collection service is suspended

As soon as we are at a place when we can resume the service, we will let our customers know and, in the meantime, we thank our customers again for their  understanding and patience.

16 December 2021: Statement from Cllr Ashley Tilling, Portfolio Holder for the Environment

There have been rumours circulating, particularly on social media, that Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) has refused offers from Runnymede Borough Council to assist with our garden waste collections, which are currently suspended due to the ongoing HGV driver crisis in order for us to fulfill our statutory obligation to collect food waste, recycling and general household waste.

We hope to clarify the situation with the following statements:

  1. EBC approached a number of other local Councils, including Runnymede, some months ago when it was becoming clear the garden waste service was under threat, to see if any assistance could be provided. No offer was forthcoming from any other borough at that time, or since, including Runnymede.
  2. Senior Officers from Runnymede Council have confirmed that their Leader, Cllr Prescot, made verbal informal offers in the context of exploring the possibility of shared services in the medium and longer term, not as a solution to the current garden waste situation. 
  3. Senior Officers at Runnymede have also confirmed that they have no capacity to help Elmbridge with garden waste collections at the current time, or in the immediate future.
  4. The Energy and Sustainability Committee in Runnymede (the Committee that would discuss waste collection and recycling) has never discussed the possibility of helping Elmbridge Borough Council.

EBC remains committed to restoring the garden waste collection service as soon as we can be sure that our contractors can deliver a resilient, reliable service. Action is in hand by our contractor to train drivers but there is a lead time before we will see the benefit which is also true of the national HGV driver situation.  In the meantime, we thank our residents for their patience and understanding and want to reassure them that we plan to conduct a further ‘catch up’ collection early in the New Year. Further details will be provided to our subscribers and posted on the website nearer the time. 

Cllr Ashley Tilling, Portfolio Holder for the Environment 

BBC News, 16 December 2021: Surrey refuse firm looks to recruit refugees to plug HGV driver gap

16 November 2021: Update

We are pleased to report that over the last two weeks, Elmbridge has had a successful ‘one-off’ garden waste collection. Working with our partners at Joint Waste Solutions and with our contractor Amey, we were able to deliver this service for our residents.

Our priority remains the protection of the core waste collection, especially in the lead up to, and over Christmas and the New Year. In the meantime, we are planning another round of garden waste collection for Elmbridge in first months of 2022 and we will update you on that in the New Year.

Of course, our main aim is to work with Amey on fully reinstating the regular garden waste service our customers expect. To achieve this, the efforts to recruit and retain HGV drivers, including offering financial incentives, retraining current crew and recruiting agency drivers, continue at pace.

We are pleased to report these efforts are bearing fruit. The result so far includes putting in place the additional crew which undertook the recent collection to empty Garden Waste bins in Elmbridge. They will now make another round of garden waste collections across the boroughs in our Joint Waste Solutions partnership. We will contact customers with details of the next Elmbridge collection in the New Year.  

Given the continuing pressures in the HGV Driver employment market, nationally and internationally, we do not want to ‘overpromise’ by committing to the full resumption of the service prematurely. However we can reassure you  that we are doing all we can to stabilise the position with the aim of fully reinstating the garden waste service as soon as is possible  Once again, we apologise to our customers for this ongoing disruption.

We will continue to automatically extend your garden waste contract during the period of the suspension.

20 October 2021: 'One-off' collection in Elmbridge

Dear Garden Waste Customer

First of all, I want to thank you for your patience and understanding with the suspension of the garden waste collection service in Elmbridge. This was a difficult decision but one we felt necessary in order to protect the core waste collection services in the borough.

We knew such an abrupt stop to the service was difficult for many of our customers which is why we have been doing all we can to rectify the situation. I cannot tell you at this time when the service will return in full, but I can confirm that we have arranged a one-off garden waste collection so that we can clear those bins that still had garden waste inside when the service was suspended.

Over the next few days we are sending you an email or letter letting you know  the date of your collection, which will be either week of 1 November or week of 8 November, depending on your location in the borough. If the crew are delayed in getting to you, please leave your bin out until it is picked up, we will keep our website updated with relevant information.

Continued efforts to recruit HGV drivers

I am sorry to say that we have not seen a significant improvement in the availability of  HGV drivers , however, we continue with our efforts to recruit and retain drivers to allow us to once again deliver a robust and efficient garden waste collection service. 

In the meantime, once this one-off collection has been made please do not refill your bin until we provide details of when the collection service can be re-established.

Our websitehas information on those efforts, as well as details on how you can dispose of your garden waste while your regular collection service is suspended.

As soon as we are at a place when we can resume the service, I will let you know and, in the meantime, I thank you again for your understanding and patience.

Kind regards

Robert Moran, Chief Executive, Elmbridge Borough Council

September 2021:
From the Chief Executive of Elmbridge Borough Council

Dear Customer

The Suspension of the Garden Waste Collection Service in Elmbridge

It is important that I send you this message to explain why you have experienced disruption to your garden waste service over the last few weeks and to detail the path ahead.

An apology

Firstly, I want to apologise to you for the service disruption. I understand how inconvenient and frustrating a disrupted service can be; especially a service you pay for.  The reason is almost entirely the result of the national shortage of HGV drivers which you will have seen widely reported. 

Over the summer we have been working with our contractor Amey to ensure the waste crews are deployed to maximum capacity.  Overtime has been made available, pay and retention bonuses have been announced and we have trawled the employment agencies to seek additional drivers. The fact is that HGV drivers are in great demand and there are not enough to go around.  

Prioritising core services

Throughout this time, our aim has been to prioritise the core waste services (rubbish and recycling). Which is why we decided to have a rolling programme of garden waste suspensions across the boroughs in the waste service contract (Elmbridge, Mole Valley, Surrey Heath and Woking). While this solution helped initially, additional driver shortages and our determination to protect the core waste collection service has brought us to the unfortunate conclusion that we must suspend garden waste collection services across Elmbridge for the foreseeable future.

Suspension of garden waste services

The suspension is effective immediately and will run for some months to come. At this time, I am reluctant to put a date on the resumption of services until we know the results of our mitigation efforts. When we can provide a date for the resumption of services, I will update you again.

This is a huge blow for many of you, especially those with bins full of garden waste expecting it to be emptied from next week. We told you in good faith that we would resume services after 10 September, but the situation has worsened since then and I can only apologise that our message to you has had to change.

What we are doing to resolve the situation

Our 'what we are doing' webpage has much more detail on what we are doing to resolve this situation but in brief I can tell you a few of the measures being implemented with our contractor:

  • Recruitment and retention bonuses for drivers
  • HGV driver training of other crew members 
  • Referrals fees paid to current crews bringing in other drivers
  • We have approached charity work programmes for drivers
  • Apprenticeships
  • Government has and will continue to be lobbied by us and our contractors to help resolve this desperate situation

What can I do with my garden waste?

If you currently have a bin full of garden waste, an option is to leave it until the service is resumed. I know this is not the answer you want but I also know that transporting garden waste directly from the bin to your local tip in your car can be unpleasant.

Our 'what you can do' webpagehas all the options available to you to help you dispose of your garden waste, including:

  • Composting: This is a viable solution that is of course beneficial for our garden and for the environment. 
  • Putting your garden waste in large plastic sacks and bringing it to your local tip. You can find those details on  our 'what you can do' webpage.

What about my subscription?

We will automatically extend your garden waste contract during the period of the suspension, therefore, you will not be paying for a service that we currently cannot provide. I recognise that a few subscribers may want to stop the service permanently and you will find further details at the bottom of this page.

This is not the type of correspondence I wanted to send. I have been incredibly proud of Elmbridge Borough Council’s response to the COVID pandemic over the last 18 months and the hard work and dedication it has taken for our services to keep going largely uninterrupted but as is often the case, national matters also impact Elmbridge and we feel that taking this action now will protect the core waste service. I hope you can understand, and I thank you for your patience while we work to find solutions.

Please do keep up to date with the situation on our  garden waste service webpage, where you find more information on all the matters referenced in this correspondence.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Moran, Chief Executive, Elmbridge Borough Council

Ending your garden waste subscription

We are automatically extending your subscription period to cover the number of months that the service will be suspended (starting from 1 August 2021). When the service resumes we will contact you about any renewal payment that may be due:

How do I cancel my subscription and request a refund?

  • When we receive your request to cancel the service we will contact you to arrange collection of your bin (if you have subscribed from 2017).
  • When the bin has been collected we will refund you the outstanding amount on the contract.
  • A refund will be given for the number of months left on your subscription after 31 July 2021, not the full year.

Refund amounts

  • For 1 bin subscriptions paid in 2021: £4.08 for each full month remaining
  • For 2 bin subscriptions paid in 2021: £8.08 for each full month remaining
  • For 1 bin subscriptions paid in 2020: £3.75 for each full month remaining
  • For 2 bin subscriptions paid in 2020: £7.08 for each full month remaining

Please be aware that when collections resume for existing customers, the scheme will not open for new subscribers at the same time, it will be at a later date.

Requests for garden waste refunds will end on 28 February 2022.

Request to cancel your subscription service and request a refund.

As suspending garden waste collection is a policy decision, it does not fall under  our complaints process.

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