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Utilities & Services

How will Dorset Council keep waste services going during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation?

Bin collections are one of Dorset Council’s most important services, provided to over 200,000 households across the county.

But with the current public health measures introduced around the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, there may be challenges in maintaining waste service levels as some of our collection crew employees begin to self-isolate and follow social-distancing advice.

We have a robust business continuity plan to cope with reduced staffing levels and ensure every household still gets their waste collected.

Services have been prioritised according to relative importance. As staffing levels reduce, employees will be redeployed to cover higher priority work. Broadly speaking, running from highest to lowest priority, the order is: –

  • Food Waste
  • Rubbish collections
  • Business waste collections
  • Recycling collections
  • Garden waste collections
  • Street cleansing
  • Bin deliveries

In short, employees working on lower priority services will be redeployed to cover absentees who were working in higher priority services.  Dorset Council employees working on other non-critical services will also be trained to help with critical waste services if absentee levels become too high across our waste depots.

If, after these measures are introduced, we need to introduce more radical measures we can mix waste types that are currently collected separately (e.g. food with rubbish in a single vehicle, rather than two separate vehicles requiring fewer staff).

If Garden and Business waste collections are disrupted, we will work out how subscribers are compensated for collections they did not receive and contact them directly when services eventually return to normal.

Information will be posted on the Dorset Council coronavirus webpages to provide regular updates on what is happening with bin collections and what residents should do if collections are disrupted. We will also issue information via our usual communications channels such as local media, e-bulletins and social media.

There are no current plans to close household recycling centres, and we are working with our contractors on business continuity, and any on-site changes that may be required to assist with social distancing.  We are also working with our contractors who treat and dispose of our waste to ensure business continuity arrangements are in place.

We are closely monitoring any nationally imposed requirements, and as soon as we receive further instructions, we will communicate the details to residents.

Cllr Tony Alford, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services, said:

“While the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is certainly unprecedented, Dorset Council’s waste services are well prepared for the challenges we will face for the foreseeable future regarding bin collections and waste disposal.

We have a statutory duty to empty people’s bins, and it is vital that this service is maintained throughout the current crisis. We’re confident Dorset Council’s and our contractors’ business continuity plans are robust and will ensure rubbish will continue to be collected and disposed of.

I'd like to thank all our front-line waste and cleansing staff, and contractors, who I know will be working even harder than usual to ensure these vital functions continue over the coming weeks. To help them, residents can also try to reduce the amount of waste their household produces at the kerbside and show patience and understanding if their collections are disrupted.”

All Household Recycling Centres (Tips) are now closed.

Latest information:  https://news.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/2020/03/24/recycling-centre-closures-and-bin-collections-during-coronavirus-how-you-can-help-us/

Dorset Council suspends charges in their car parks to support key workers and residents

Dorset Council has taken the decision to suspend parking charges in its car parks across the county during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


Following calls from the general public and Dorset’s elected members, the Council will no longer require payment for the use of any of its car parks that remain open at this time while public health measures are in place.


However, on-street parking charges and restrictions will remain in place in order to keep roads clear and traffic moving.

The decision to suspend off-street car park charges will help residents to park for free while residential roads are full of vehicles during the current “lockdown”. The aim is to get people not parking in the side roads whilst they are staying indoors, so they can move their cars from the road to the car parks.

By encouraging the movement of the cars from the street to these car parks we can provide better access for NHS workers, social carers and volunteers supporting the vulnerable in their communities. It will improve access for emergency and bin collection vehicles and provide options for residents who need to travel to buy essential food and groceries.

Beach car parks will remain closed for this weekend (28 and 29 March) but will re-open as free on Monday. However, Dorset Council will continue to ask people not to drive to tourist spots and/or congregate in groups in order to comply with public health guidance and not spread the virus.

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said:

“We have listened and taken action. This is a positive use of Council assets and by suspending charges in our car-parks we can support Dorset residents during these unprecedented times.

We can ensure those who are on the front-line delivering vital services have parking options, and we can help keep traffic moving while residential roads are full of parked cars.

However, it is still important that people heed central government advice to stay at home and only travel when it is essential. Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home). If outside, ensure you stay 2 metres away from others.”

Garden Waste kerbside bin collections suspended

From the end of Friday 27 March, Dorset Council waste services (previously known as the Dorset Waste Partnership) will be suspending all Garden Waste kerbside collections.

We have had to suspend this service until further notice to prioritise rubbish, food waste and recycling collections during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

As this is a subscription service that we are currently unable to deliver, we don’t expect our customers to lose out financially. We will work out how subscribers are compensated for collections they did not receive during this disruption period and contact them directly when services eventually return to normal.

The Garden Waste team have also suspended new subscriptions to the service.

With household recycling centres currently closed, Dorset residents are being asked to: –

  • Reduce or stop producing garden waste for as long as possible, including cutting grass and trimming hedges
  • Store your garden waste safely until services resume
  • Not place garden waste in your other household waste bins
  • Please consider home composting – Dorset Council works with getcomposting.com to provide composting bins from as little as £19 (+P&P) and there are many other retailers online still delivering compost bins.

Residents are also being politely asked not to burn their waste. Those lighting bonfires are respectfully requested to consider their neighbours, who may be suffering from the virus, recovering, or have underlying medical conditions as smoke may exacerbate their problems and cause complications in their recovery.

Cllr Tony Alford, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services, said:

“The suspension of our Garden Waste service is regrettable, but anticipated and planned for. It is necessary to protect the other kinds of collections we need to provide, especially at this time when we expect household waste levels to rise as everybody stays at home.

Please help us help you. Keep hold of your garden waste or home compost until the coronavirus public health guidance is relaxed. Do not burn it. Do not dump it elsewhere as this is fly-tipping and is illegal.

We all need to play our part in coping with the current restrictions to our usual routines and dealing with your waste responsibly is a major part of that. Thank you for your co-operation.”

More information on home composting can be found at on our webpage


South Western Railway publishes a revised timetable from 23 March 2020

SWR will reduce the number of services it will be running from Monday 23 March, following the Government’s announcement urging people to avoid all but essential travel in order to help limit the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.

The spread of the COVID-19 means like at most other organisations, more of our staff are having to follow advice to stay at home unwell and self-isolate for up to 14 days.

By reducing the number of trains running, we can focus on ensuring a reliable timetable for passengers who still have to travel, especially healthcare professionals, police and fire service workers.

We are asking all passengers to follow the Government’s advice to avoid all but essential travel.  But those passengers who do have to use our services should check before they travel.

Our colleagues on the front line are working very hard to ensure that those who need to travel get to where they need to be, when they need to be there, and the rest of the business is focusing on supporting them. 

For more information about what else we’re doing to help stop the spread of coronavirus, please visit: www.southwesternrailway.com/coronavirus

Thank you in advance for your support during these very difficult times.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Hopwood

Managing Director

South Western Railway