Green bin collections will NOT restart in Milton Keynes as refuse workers are added to exempt list
Garden waste is not deemed a critical service, says council leader
Green bin collections will not be restarted in MK following the government's decision to add refuse collectors to the list of workers exempt from self isolation.
City Conservative councillors called for the full service to resume as possible after the move was announced last night.
But Labour council leader Pete Marland said this would not be possible - and blasted the latest government move as a shambles.
"The exemption rules are very strict and while waste collections does appear on the critical list, a garden waste does not qualify as 'critical'. The exemption for staff will also only apply if the critical service was in danger of stopping," he said.
Due to the measures MK Council has put in place - asking people to put food waste in black sacks and continuing to collect those - the exemption cannot apply, said Pete.
"The green bin service will restart as soon as we return to proper staffing levels that can offer a proper service. We all want to see it start again, but let’s not forget if the government has put in place a proper plan in the first place we wouldn’t be in this position.”
He said the government was responsible for the country being in "utter shambles.
"There are empty shelves in shops, queues at ports and a national shortage of HGV drivers due to Brexit while at the same time we have very high levels of infections and a falling number of vaccinations being carried out," he said.
A spokesman for MK Conservatives said: "Last night the government added more jobs to list of people able to avoid coronavirus self-isolation. This includes refuse workers which is important given the staff shortages and subsequent suspension of food and garden waste collections occurring in Milton Keynes.
"With refuse workers now able to avoid coronavirus self-isolation, the Conservatives are hoping to see the return of food and garden waste as soon as possible."
Workers on the self isolation exemption list include keyworkers in healthcare, food and frontline services as well as staff in prisons, some veterinary staff and telecoms organisations, defence workers and refuse collectors.
The announcement followed the recent pingdemic, which saw the NHS app tell almost 620,000 people in just one week to self-isolate.
Exemption does not apply to workers who have tested positive for Covid or to contacts who develop symptoms regardless of their role or vaccination status.