Peter Holt, chief executive at Uttlesford District Council, says contingency plans are being put in place to resume refuse collections asap.
I’m sorry to have to advise that the issue of the council’s fleet vehicle operator’s licence remains unresolved at this time. This means that waste collections will not be taking place again today (Friday 25 January).
Once again, I sincerely apologise for this situation and promise we are doing everything we can to resolve it as urgently as possible.
To squash unhelpful made up conspiracy theories, I would like to reiterate that there has been no incident with the safety of our vehicles or their operation, no financial issue, no staffing issue. It is an administrative oversight by the council that has led to this highly regrettable situation.
Under the terms of the licence, an organisation must have a qualified transport manager in place. A member of staff has undertaken the required training and tests following the departure of the former staff member who held the qualification. Unfortunately, we did not properly regularise our position sufficiently promptly in this interim period and as a result we have now had to submit a new application after our licence was formally revoked earlier this week, which I admit absolutely caught us on the hop.
In the meantime, contingency plans are being prepared to ensure that collections can resume as soon as possible. We appreciate residents’ understanding, are sorry for the inconvenience this is causing, and we will provide a further update tomorrow.
Thank you to nearly all councillors for resisting the temptation to phone or email through the day asking for the latest, and for understanding that the people who can meaningfully give such updates are working flat-out to fix the problem. I will continue to give these updates regularly, as well as being held rigorously to account by the Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment throughout the day in substantially more detail. We most certainly will be ensuring that we look closely at what lessons we need to learn and apply in future from this experience once we are through it, and will report on this to Councillors as you would rightly expect.