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Council to set up Covid19 Waste Support Service

03 April 2020
Details of a new COVID-19 Waste Support Service and Helpline to be set up by Derry City and Strabane District Council from next week was outlined to elected members at an online briefing held this afternoon.
 
Members were given details of the new COVID-19 waste response system, that would be operational from Monday next 06 April to assist in dealing with increasing requests from the public regarding excess refuse that has been accumulated as a result of the current emergency situation.
 
Karen Phillips, Director for Environment and Regeneration with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the new Service would include a dedicated Helpline that would be manned, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, with a team of staff to process and categorise all calls.
 
The calls would be fed into a central system, that in turn will co-ordinate each request for collection by district ward, with each area being served on specific allocated days of the week.
 
It was outlined to members that only excess residual, green and garden waste would be collected, with no provision being made for bulky waste collections, which unfortunately cannot be collected during this emergency situation.
 
Collections would be carried out by area and on specific days of the week and only directly from domestic premises that have made pre-arranged collections with Council, with no kerbside waste being permitted.
 
It was reiterated to members that this service is an emergency response to assist in resolving the increased pressure on waste services and the public will be strongly advised that they must continue to fully utilise the existing refuse collection services that continue to operate as normal.
 
The Council will continue to put a strong emphasis on the recycling message, re-enforcing the need for the public to continue to maximise the use of their blue and brown bins.
 
It is hoped that this additional service will assist in providing support to vulnerable members of the community and those with specific issues with medical or additional residual waste, such as larger families and will prevent fly-tipping.
 
She reassured members that refuse collection staff providing this service would be adhering to strict social distancing guidelines and health and safety measures. She said checks to identify members of the public who are self-isolating would be done by staff prior to the collection being arranged.
 
Members were informed that messaging and advice on double bagging also be communicated to those availing of the service, adding that the Council would review the service on a daily basis and had the capacity to put additional resources in place according to demand.
 
It was also outlined to members that the new service, while being operational from next week, would take a number of days to roll out and the public would be encouraged to be patient and co-operate with Council during this process.
 
During the online meeting with senior Council officials, members were also provided with an update on all other Council’s service provision and contingency measures and how Council is continuing to work to provide as many essential services as possible.
 
A detailed presentation in relation to the work being done at a regional level and local level with regard to community resilience and the roll out of the significant financial package for the community and voluntary sector was also provided at the meeting. Members heard about the important role the Council is doing in partnership with the Western Trust and other statutory bodies, and the community and voluntary sector to collate and share information and co-ordinate a joint up approach across the Council area.
 
An update in relation to the number of Council staff currently working from home and those who have been deployed from their existing roles to other essential services across Council, was also provided while reassurances were given that all front-line staff have been provided with the necessary PPE and social distancing measure guidelines.
 
The proactive work by Derry City and Strabane District Council was acknowledged and commended by all Elected Members who said the Council was showing best practice in terms of dealing with the current emergency.
 
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr Michaela Boyle also acknowledged the significant work being done on the ground by the community and voluntary sector to help those most affected by this emergency. She thanked the Council for the work they are doing to provide support through the funding and their community services staff.
 
Reiterating the need for everyone to work together, the Mayor said strong collaboration and synergy were key in ensuring the community response targets the most vulnerable.