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Commercial and Household Waste Collection

Volume 676: debated on Tuesday 19 May 2020

What steps he is taking to ensure that (a) commercial and (b) household waste continues to be collected during the covid-19 outbreak. (902742)

DEFRA officials are working with local authorities and industry to ensure that commercial and household waste can continue to be collected safely during the coronavirus outbreak. I pay tribute to and thank all those working in local authorities and the waste sector who have ensured that nearly all household waste collections in England are operating as normal. On 5 May, DEFRA published guidance to help local authorities to reopen household waste and recycling centres.

Does my hon. Friend agree that waste collection is an integral part of ensuring health and wellbeing during this global pandemic? I know that she has thanked key workers, but would she particularly thank key workers in South West Herts? I am sure that they would appreciate her comments.

Of course, I would be delighted to thank those key workers. We must not forget that those who work in the waste sector are key workers, and they have done a tremendous job in keeping our waste systems flowing, with a terrific record of 91% maintaining normal collection services from our households during this difficult period. Many are now working in the waste and recycling centres that I am pleased to say have opened, and that are working efficiently in almost every area—albeit with strict guidance and slightly different services from those that they were operating before.