01:00PM, Thursday 09 September 2021
Bucks Council’s bin lorry contractor Veolia has announced a £1,500 bonus for new HGV drivers amid a national shortage which is impacting bin collections.
Drivers with Class 2 and 7.5 tonne entitlements who join municipal collections and street cleansing operations in the county will be offered the extra cash.
A drop in trained HGV drivers has been reported over the past few months due to a combination of factors arising from Brexit and COVID-19 aftermaths.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) predicted a shortage of about 60,000 drivers pre-pandemic, but now estimate this to be more than 100,000 across the UK.
Veolia, which looks after Buckinghamshire Council’s refuse collections, is reporting an average of 15 per cent vacancy rates for driving roles.
Beth Whittaker, chief human resources officer for Veolia UK & Ireland, said: “We hope the incentive will encourage drivers to consider working with us.
“We can offer part time positions if wanted and a really good lifestyle – no overnights, no long-haul or overseas, so ideal for family time.”
Benefits in addition to the £1,500 sign-on bonus include a company pension scheme, annual leave, sick leave entitlement and access to a range of retail discounts.
Buckinghamshire Council is also having to ask residents in the Chiltern and Wycombe areas to carry on disposing of food waste in their general rubbish 'until further notice'.
Residents in these areas have already been asked to throw away food waste with their general household waste for the last four weeks, with the council forced to extend this arrangement because of the on-going national HGV driver shortage.
Peter Strachan, Buckinghamshire Council’s cabinet member for climate change and environment, said: “It is regretful that we can’t bring back separate food waste collections yet, but we are being greatly hampered by the ongoing national HGV driver shortage.
"We’ve taken this difficult decision so we can keep regular waste collections going while reducing the number of rounds we make given we have fewer drivers.
“We are working hard with our contractor to get the food waste service back to normal as soon as possible; I apologise to residents in these areas for this ongoing disruption and thank them for their patience and understanding at this difficult time.
"Unfortunately, we are not in a position to put an end date to these arrangements at this time, but we ask you to bear with us and we will update as soon as the situation improves."
On the plea for more bin lorry drivers, Cllr Strachan added: “It’s great to see this proactive recruitment taking place and this offers a great employment opportunity for Bucks residents to work in a key local service.”
Experienced drivers, newly qualified, or those looking for a change in career can apply here.
This weekend’s smart motorway closures on the M4 will be shorter than usual due to separate bridge works taking place in West Berkshire (Junctions 13-14)