Copeland residents will be able to leave out extra bags of rubbish as the local authority takes steps to shore up its hard-hit recycling and waste service.
The service has been under pressure during the pandemic with many staff isolating or awaiting Covid-19 test results. Combined with weather problems and vehicle collisions, this has meant many collections have been delayed.
Community services manager, Shirley Procter-Dow, said: “We want to thank people for their patience during these incredibly testing times.
“If you’ve not had a collection, we are now unable to come back for it until your next collection date. We apologise for this, but these external pressures are beyond our control.
“We know this will be inconvenient, and we will collect two extra bags of household refuse with each of your next three collections – a total of six extra bags for each missed collection.”
Spreading the extra waste over three collections will help stop the service becoming overwhelmed, she added.
Mrs Procter-Dow added: “Our crews and their families are not immune from the virus and we have had several cases, as well as many staff having to isolate or await test results.
“We have also had some collections missed because of icy road conditions, and some due to two vehicles being off the road for repair – one after an accident on the ice.
“Added to this, there are some streets which we cannot get into because of the way people have parked. We have asked those involved to park appropriately, but this does not always happen.
“I would again urge people to leave as much space in the road as possible – our vehicles need more space then you’d think to manoeuvre.
“We are really sorry that some people will miss a collection – and we’re grateful for their understanding.
“This is a challenging time to say the least and I want to commend our crews who have been on the front line every day, often delaying holidays and working overtime.
“Collecting six extra bags over a three-week period – instead of the usual four at the next collection – is a way of getting the waste collected without once again overwhelming the service.“
The ‘six extra bags’ policy relates to household waste.
Mrs Proctor Dow said: “In relation to recycling, there is usually no limit on the amount residents can put out, apart from card, which has been limited to one bag since the start of the pandemic.
“But because we are still in the post-Christmas period, when people create hugely-increased amounts of recycling, we are struggling to cope with the volume.
“If you are able to put out less, please do – it may mean we are able to complete a round that would otherwise be delayed. You can use our community recycling sites, but if they are full please do not leave recycling alongside them.”
Cumbria County Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres remain open.