GARDEN waste collections are to be suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The move comes as contractor Serco is facing and anticipating staffing shortages as people self-isolate to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

They are prioritising the collection of 156,000 bin collections instead.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Enforcement Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “This is a really challenging time for our key services.

"During this outbreak we have to protect our residents and our bin crews while doing all we can to deliver core, important services.

"It is not an easy decision to temporarily suspend the garden waste and bulky waste collections and I apologise for the inconvenience it may cause, but I hope it is one our customers will understand we need to take to ensure we can collect the waste bins, clinical collections and recycling.

“I’d like to thank our bin crews for their tremendous efforts so far and over the coming weeks where we could face further challenges.”

The services across Basingstoke and Deane, as well as Hart, are run by Serco.

Up until now, they had been unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Now, garden waste and bulky waste collections will be temporarily suspended to protect waste, recycling and clinical waste collections instead.

Garden waste in Basingstoke will be collected next week, but staffing levels will be monitored on a daily basis, BDBC say.

New subscriptions or renewals will be accepted until the service is running again.

Cabinet Member for Environment at Hart District Council Cllr Alan Oliver said: “We are incredibly grateful to our collection staff for doing such a great job in this challenging time.

"They too have families, and home lives to consider while fulfilling such an important role for our residents and communities.”