Councils enact heatwave measures amid ‘extreme heat’ warning

Waste and recycling collections across the UK have been disrupted today (12 August) as councils enact measures to keep crews safe during the heat.

An amber warning is in place as temperatures near 35 °C

An amber ‘extreme heat’ warning is in place across much of England and parts of eastern Wales for the weekend, with temperatures in some places set to hit near 35 °C.

As was the case last month when the mercury hit record levels, several council crews began their collection rounds earlier, with many starting as early as 5.30am. This includes crews in areas such as Dudley, Watford and Wokingham, among many others.

Suspensions

While this heatwave is not as hot as the last, it is spread over a longer period. This has meant disruption to services has been fairly limited, but there have been some instances.

Amey had to suspend collections on the Isle of Wight yesterday, urging residents to leave bins out for collection this morning.

The council said: “Isle of Wight Council’s waste partners Amey have temporarily suspended some resident bin/sack collections as temperatures have hit 30°C and over.

“Crews have been collecting as usual but due to the extreme temperatures and risk of heatstroke, they are being given extra water and other measures to deal with the heat throughout the day.”

‘U-turn’

Elsewhere, Waltham Forest council made headlines in the national press when it ‘u-turned’ on its decision to halt garden waste collections.

The council had earlier suspended them, claiming that tonnages were down during the heatwave and the move would enable it to focus on other services.

However, as outlined below, this move was halted yesterday after concerns were raised.

HWRCs

Over the weekend, many local authorities and their waste partners will also be shortening opening times at household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs), in order to protect staff.

Derbyshire warned residents to ensure they wear correct footwear in order to keep themselves protected.

Other councils have decided to close centres early to “keep staff and residents safe”. Cheltenham took this measure with the temperature set to rise to 34°C.

Guidance

Currently, there is no specific guidance available to local authorities for dealing with extreme temperature, as it often comes down to specific circumstances.

However, the most frequent advice is to ensure staff have access to water, start rounds earlier and rotate shifts to cooler times.

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