Garden waste collections across Central Bedfordshire - which have not taken place since July - will resume for a two-week period only.

Central Bedfordshire Council's contractor, FCC, has been unable to collect household garden waste since late July due to a national shortage of LGV drivers.The available drivers have been prioritising collecting black bins, recycling and food waste.

Now, in order to clear the backlog of waste in residents' garden bins before the winter period, garden waste will be collected between October 18 and 30.

To facilitate this, drivers are being redeployed from the usual food waste collections for two weeks. Food waste will not be collected during this time.

During this two-week window, residents are asked to place their garden waste bin - or their two council-issued bags - by their kerbside from 7am on the day they normally have their recycling collected.

From Monday, September 27, residents will also no longer need to book a slot at their local household waste recycling centre (tidy tips). The permit system will also be reinstated for non-commercial vans, large trailers and certain materials.

The council is encouraging people with enough space in their gardens to home compost, offering a subsidised 220-litre compost bin at a subsidised price through the local authority.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, the council's executive member for community services, said: “We are really pleased to be able to confirm that we will be collecting the garden waste bins or bags.

“We are sorry that our usual, reliable service has been affected by the national driver shortage, and we thank residents for their patience during this difficult time.

“We would still like to encourage residents to look at alternative ways to manage their garden waste, such as taking up our offer of a subsidised home composting bin, where possible, or using one our four tidy tips, where we have reinstated the permit system and booking is no longer required.”

FCC's environment operations director, Steve Longdon, said: “All our staff have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain our services and ensure household recycling and waste continued to be collected but, as we return to normality, the sector is facing new challenges.

“LGV 1 and 2 drivers are essential for the recycling and waste sector, and we are committed to doing everything we can to fill our driver vacancies to continue to play our part in protecting public health and the environment, as well as the UK’s green economic recovery, and this firmly remains our focus in Central Bedfordshire so we can resume services as soon as we are able.

“For qualified individuals looking for a new career as a key worker in the recycling and waste sector, please email”