Elmbridge garden waste FAQs

Update 4 October

I have heard other boroughs are having a garden waste collection; why isn’t this happening in Elmbridge?

As you know our contractor Amey has been actively trying to recruit new drivers and those efforts seem to have paid off in that some additional drivers have been employed. While this is not enough to full reinstate the service, it has allowed for a single garden waste collection in Woking and other boroughs.

The reason for starting in Woking is that in the Joint Waste Solutions partnership, of which Elmbridge is a member, Woking customers have had the longest time since their last collection.  

Is Elmbridge next for this one-off collection? 

You may have seen news reports about one-off garden waste collections in other boroughs except Elmbridge. In fact we are working on a one-off garden waste collection for Elmbridge and we will share that date as soon as possible. We need be confident the date will not change before we share it with our customers.

Update 15 September

Why couldn’t you do a final collection?

This was a very difficult decision and for many customers the most galling part has been the use an ‘emergency stop’ rather than do a final collection. The answer is that to do a final garden waste collection for over 25,000 homes across Elmbridge would have taken 4 or 5 collection crews two weeks, but more importantly we would have had to remove half of the current refuse and recycling crews in order to make this happen. Given a worsening situation with HGV drivers each week over the summer, we had to choose between garden waste and rubbish, recycling and food waste collection disruption.

Our priority is to protect the core waste collection service and hence we regrettably suspended garden waste effective immediately.

Why are some councils more affected by HGVs shortages than others?

Waste collection services across the country are structured and delivered differently and this includes, but is not limited to, differences in vehicle and driver requirements, collection frequencies and more. As such HGV driver shortages has impacted different local authority areas in various ways.

Below you will see a round-up of other councils and their situations with garden waste collections (information correct as of 15 Sept 2021) .The national shortage of HGV drivers has led to the suspension of garden waste collections in several other authorities in the UK, such as:

  • Mole Valley - service suspended - new customers suspended
  • Woking - service suspended - new customers suspended
  • Surrey Heath - service suspended - new customers suspended
  • New Forest - service operating on a reduced frequency - new customers suspended
  • Basingstoke and Deane - service operating with significant delays - new customers suspended
  • South Oxfordshire - service suspended - new customers suspended
  • Amber Valley Borough Council - service suspended - new customers suspended
  • North Devon Council - service operating with significant delays - new customers operating as normal
  • South Hams District Council - service suspended - new customers suspended
  • Teinbridge Council - service operating with significant delays - new customers operating as normal
  • Torbay Council - service operating with significant delays - new customers operating as normal
  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council - service suspended - new customers suspended
  • Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council - service suspended - new customers suspended
  • Swale Borough Council - service suspended - new customers suspended
  • North Somerset - service suspended - new customers operating as normal 
  • Bristol Council - service suspended - new customers operating as normal 

Why am I still seeing council garden waste vehicles around?

Where there is a breakdown, which can happen, we would use placement vehicles which could be branded with the garden waste livery. 

Can you use a private contractor to collect the garden waste?

This could be a possibility in the medium term and one we are exploring as a matter of urgency. We will report back when we can with an update.

Can garden waste subscribers living close to Kingston use the tip there, rather than travel to Shepperton?

We have investigated this possibility, however, the site is already operating at full capacity and cannot accommodate waste from other boroughs.

Can you collect in bags and vehicles that do not require HGV drivers?

The use of bags and smaller vans would take many weeks to get up and running and we believe our residents would be better served by us working through some alternative options, such as the use of private contractors for garden waste collection. We will update you on those alternative options in a few weeks.

Can you suspend recycling instead of garden waste?

As part of our considerations as we worked desperately to find a solution rather than suspend the garden waste service, we explored the option to suspend recycling or suggesting that food waste was added to rubbish bins rather than collected separately.

We have approximately 25,000 garden waste subscribers and over 58,600 households in Elmbridge. To suspend the recycling or food waste collections would have impacted every household in the borough and added more pressure at the tip (with more people potentially using it).  It would then take at least 4-6 weeks to collect the extra recycling from the cancelled collection, and / or we would see an increase in rubbish tonnage putting more strain on the core service. Our priority is to protect the core waste collection service and suspending garden waste allows us to do that.

What about elderly residents affected, they can’t go to the tip?

We are sorry for the extra burden and hassle the suspension creates for older and vulnerable people in the borough. We ask that family, friends and neighbours’ step in to help them where possible, but rest assured it is fine to keep the existing garden waste in your bin until collections restart.

Can we bring garden waste to a single collection point? 

We are working through some options for this and will provide an update as soon as we can. 

Can I load my garden waste in a trailer and take this to the tip?

We are happy for residents to use vans or trailers to bring their green waste to the site but they will need to obtain a van/trailer permit which costs £8.50 for the year and allows up to 12 visits. Apply for a permit. 

Updated: 21 September 2021

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