Recycling and green waste collections will start again this week, Bromley Council has announced, ending a suspension of services after more than a third of the collection workforce was forced to self-isolate as a result of coronavirus.
It comes as the authority also warned residents in the borough they face an “unlimited fine” if they are caught lighting up bonfires in their backyards.
The council announced on Friday it would restart green garden waste collections for subscribers from Monday, April 6, while it would also recommence green box recycling collections “on a limited basis only”, dependent on the number of collection crews available on each day.
Both services were temporarily suspended in March as staffing levels dropped dramatically as a result of coronavirus self-isolating measures, with councillors stating up to 35 per cent of the collection workforce was unavailable due to the bug.
Councillor William Huntington-Thresher, the executive member for environment and community services, said he was “very pleased” the services would restart with immediate effect, although he urged patience for green box collections.
“We are acutely aware that the gardening season is upon us and that many of us value this service, especially at this peak gardening period,” he said.
“I am also pleased to confirm that we are planning to re-start our green box recycling collection on Monday too, albeit that I anticipate we will not be in a position to complete all the scheduled work for that day, I know collection crews will do their best.”
He also thanked residents for their “support, understanding and co-operation during these trying and difficult times for us all”.
It came amid a warning to residents over lighting backyard bonfires in the borough.
The local democracy reporting service last week covered councillors’ concerns over an increase in bonfires in the borough coinciding with the suspension of recycling and green waste collection, with Beckenham MP Bob Stewart also raising the issue.
Independent air quality monitor readings suggested spikes in Orpington corresponded with elected members’ concerns over bonfires.
While Cllr Huntington Thresher said it was “misleading, to say the least,” to conflate general pollution with bonfires, he still appealed to residents to avoid lighting fires in their backyards.
“I strongly encourage residents to think very carefully before having a bonfire. We will take action against residents who are causing a statutory nuisance with a bonfire and residents can report incidents to the council,” he said.
“To conflate general pollution concerns with bonfires is misleading, to say the least, there is increased household heating, including from wood stoves due to many residents following advice and staying at home, but lower emissions from traffic.”
Collection advice from Bromley Council
Residents have been advised to place their green box out for collection in the usual way and if it is not collected at the end of the day, to put it back out at the next scheduled recycling collection.
The council also confirmed subscriptions for the borough’s 30,000 garden waste customers will also automatically be extended to cover the loss of the last collection.
Residents can report nuisance bonfires by submitting a form via the council’s website.