Providing services during severe weather

Providing services during severe weather

We are really sorry many residents did not get their recycling or rubbish collected last week.

We and our contractor Biffa made decisions about sending out the crews first thing each morning, with the assessment based on the condition of roads and footpaths and the weather forecast. 

Decisions to suspend services are not taken lightly. Manoeuvring a 26 tonne rubbish truck is dangerous in these conditions, especially in the more narrow roads, or where there are parked or abandoned cars. 

On a normal collection day, our collection crews load recycling, rubbish and food waste into the trucks, crossing roads and walking to and from properties carrying bags and food caddies and wheeling bins. Trying to do this safely on a slippery pavement or footpath is risky.

Last week our collection crews were out collecting from the roads they could get into safely. The ice and snow conditions varied dramatically across the district and while some roads may have been clear, the route to those roads from the recycling and rubbish depot was not. 

There was only one day when no collections were made at all. On that day, crews who were able to get to work themselves remained at the depot ready to work in case they were able to go out and start collections. 

All our crews and vehicles are now back to their normal schedule of work which takes the full working day to complete. Any disruption to the service means there is more recycling and rubbish to collect, so it is currently taking longer for the crews to complete their usual rounds - we carry out 73,000 collections a week. This means there is not enough time, teams or vehicles available for double collections.

We know some people think if the postman or supermarket can make deliveries, we should be able to make collections. But the size of vehicle used, locations visited, amounts and weight carried, all need to be taken into consideration. Safety has to be our overriding priority.

Such a prolonged period of snow and ice is fairly unusual and it is rare for our services to be so severely affected. 

To help residents with the volume of rubbish they are trying to store until their next scheduled collection, we are providing six collections points on Saturday 10 March where residents can bring their rubbish. Everything placed in the trucks will be thrown away – so if you can, please store your recycling at home until the next scheduled collection to avoid recycling going to landfill. 

The locations have been chosen as they are in areas where there are no community recycling centres (tip/dump). For residents in the north of the district, recycling and rubbish can be taken to:

  • Chaldon Road Caterham community recycling centre which is open Monday to Wednesday from 8am to 4pm, Friday from 8am to 4pm and weekends from 9am to 4pm
  • Bond Road Warlingham community recycling centre which is open Thursday and Friday from 8am to 4pm and on Saturday from 9am to 4pm.

These are exceptional circumstances and we appreciate storing your recycling and rubbish or taking it to a community recycling centre may be difficult. 

When our services are affected we provide information on our website. You can also sign up for news alerts to receive e-mails about services. 

We have published some frequently asked questions to help respond to some of the questions we have been asked.  

Once again we are very sorry for the inconvenience and thank residents for their patience and understanding.

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