At least 18 councils across the UK have confirmed that they are experiencing delays to bin collection services as a result of staff shortages.
A deficit of some 100,000 heavy goods vehicle drivers, driven by Brexit and the pandemic, is causing major disruption according to a letter penned to Home Secretary Priti Patel by three Devon councils.
The joint letter called on the government to arrange temporary visas for trained European heavy goods vehicle drivers.
Representatives for Torbay, Teignbridge and North Devon District Council said: “This is a self-inflicted injury to some extent, and we need the Home Secretary to intervene.”
The same request was made by the waste sector last month, who called for European drivers to be granted visas to prevent the sector from “falling off a cliff-edge.”
While ministers have advised bin collection agencies to hire domestically the councillors pointed out that training takes time and drivers are needed “immediately” to fill gaps.
“At the time of writing, North Devon Council are attempting to fill seven vacancies, Torbay Council eight vacancies, and Teignbridge Council 10 vacancies,” wrote the councillors.
Ongoing bin collection delays are hitting major cities across the UK including Manchester, Derby, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Stoke on Trent.
The DVSA has upped the number of vocational tests from 2,000 to 3,000 per week and the DVLA are prioritising provisional licence applications for Heavy Goods Vehicles to help ease the driver shortage.