Covid-related staff shortages impacting Antrim and Newtownabbey bin collections

Householders in Antrim and Newtownabbey whose bins have not been emptied due to Covid-related staff shortages have been given an assurance over collection.

Councillors were told at a meeting of the local authority’s Operations Committee on Tuesday evening that residents should just “leave them out” and bins will be “picked up”.

Geraldine Girvan, Deputy Chief Executive of Operations, said she was aware of a “number of areas” where bins have been missed.

“Like everyone else, the virus  is having an impact on companies collecting bins for us”, she explained.

Bins have not been emptied (stock image).

She reported a difficulty in “getting crew members”.

The local authority has reported bins missed in a number of areas during the past few days  including Parkhall Road and Bush Park, in Antrim, Oakland area of Newtownabbey and Barnish Road, Eskylane Road and Conor Road, Dunsilly.

Black bins were not collected as scheduled in Moylena, Firgrove, Tarragon Park, Fennel Road, Thyme Park, Abbeyfields and Newpark in Antrim.

Meanwhile, the council has warned of penalties of up to £2,500 for fly-tipping.

In an online post, the authority said: “We would remind residents at this time of year to ensure that their bins are used appropriately, and that recycling is optimised.

“If you have excess waste or items that are too big to be placed in your black bin or recycling containers, please avail of the facilities at any of the council’s five recycling centres.

“All residents are responsible for any waste generated from their properties. Fly-tipping waste illegally is a punishable offence that carries a fine of up to £2,500.

“Our enforcement team will act on all information received in relation to littering and fly-tipping and we would appeal to residents to report any illegally dumped material with any information on the source.”

Committee member Glengormley DUP Councillor Alison Bennington asked for a report on the council’s recycling process and whether or not waste is sent out of Northern Ireland.

She was informed by the council’s Deputy Director of Operations Michael Laverty that”markets change as and where they become available” and the local authority keep materials “where possible”.

He continued: “It has been a difficult year with Covid  with recycling centres closed for a number of months..

“Our household waste going to landfill stayed around the same level which is very positive. A number of councils have seen recycling rates fall and waste to landfill going up. We have kept ours around the same level.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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