THE BOROUGH'S waste collection will be reduced to fortnightly to allow for greater protection to protect crews.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council said that the current level of service had been continued for "several weeks longer than anticipated".

The new measures, which will see residents put out their black bins on alternate weeks to their green, recycling bin, will come into effect from April 20.

Cabinet Member for Environment and Enforcement Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “Our bin crews are working very hard to complete all of the waste, recycling and clinical waste rounds in the borough while facing the same challenges with staffing as organisations up and down the country, owing to COVID-19.

“This is a fast moving situation and we have been, and continue to, closely monitor the staffing levels every day with the crew’s health and reducing the risk of spreading the virus being paramount. We face a new challenge each morning and have had to look at all the options for sustaining a service for the duration of the pandemic.

“Our crews have been tremendous and their commitment to delivering a service for our residents during these challenging times is something both they and we are incredibly proud of. But they cannot put themselves or others at risk and they must follow the government guidelines if feeling unwell, therefore we have been investigating reducing our waste collection service in line with other authorities.

“We are very privileged to have a weekly waste collection service which we have tried really hard to maintain but it is clear this service is not sustainable during this difficult time. The sensible and most realistic option is to temporarily move to fortnightly waste collections.

“Temporarily moving to a waste collection service one week and a recycling the next means we can also maintain our glass and recycling collections for residents. We will keep this under review and will go back to normal collections as soon as possible after the government restrictions have been lifted and we can safely do so.”

The day of collection will not change, and residents with smaller, 140-litre bins will be able to put out two extra black sacks of rubbish. Those with larger, 240-litre waste bins will only be able to fill their bin as normal.

The service has undergone changes over recent weeks, including the suspension of the garden waste service.

Cllr Eachus added: “We know our residents value their waste collection service and consider it one of the most important services we deliver, but these are unprecedented times and this is the only way to continue to deliver a reliable service. We apologise for this temporary disruption and thank our residents for their understanding and ongoing support during this difficult time. We will do all we can to support our residents to reduce the amount of waste they place in their grey bins and keep them informed of what to recycle in their green bins.”