The council said the staffing situation at its contractor Serco is now “just as acute” as it was in the early months of the pandemic.
A string of councils across the country have said staff shortages are beginning to impact collections (see letsrecycle.com story). Derbyshire Dales estimated the shortage to be at around 70,000 drivers.
The council says it is therefore likely it will need to make some significant operational changes in the short term, which will be announced soon.
In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, the council halted many recycling recycling collections as it focused on residual waste, and cancelled its food and garden waste services. It later brought back food to fortnightly.
Derbyshire Dales hasn’t disclosed the measures it would take this time around.
The council urged residents not to call, and instead go online to report missed collections.
According to a statement from the council, the driver shortage is a UK-wide problem affecting different contractors, agencies and many local councils, including neighbouring authorities across Derbyshire. Councils that run their own in-house waste service are also affected, Derbyshire Dales added.
“We need to be frank with residents in conceding there is no quick fix”
The statement said: “We continue to work hard with Serco to address the issues, but we need to be frank with residents in conceding there is no quick fix. While Serco’s crews are working extended hours and on Saturdays, unfortunately staff shortages mean continued disruption is likely in the short term.
“It is well-documented that there is a desperate shortage of drivers nationally – estimated at more than 70,000 – a situation that has been described by the Road Haulage Association to be of “catastrophic proportions.
“Covid-19 has delayed driver training and testing and it is a fact that some EU drivers have left the UK as a direct consequence of Brexit. Further exacerbating the situation is the increased demand for available drivers caused by the recent reopening of non-essential retail.”